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BlogHer 2015 Snag my Swag Giveaway

Yesterday afternoon the family and I got back from the BlogHer conference in New York City. When I was researching what to pack for BlogHer everyone said save space in your luggage or even bring a separate suitcase for all the swag you’ll be bringing home. While I never before attended a blogging conference, I’ve been to my share of trade shows and industry conferences and have been excited by the reusable totes, logoed sunglasses, travel mugs, and windbreakers but have learned with experience to politely decline because that stuff is rarely ever used (except the travel mugs, I still use one from a 2004 conference).

But BlogHer swag? That’s a whole other animal. You receive a heavyweight well-made tote upon Check In, full of goodies. That evening is Night at the Expo, two floors of brands and vendors offering all kinds of amazing stuff. Then there’s private events and non-conference events taking place in the city at the same time where you receive even more free stuff. My research was right, even if you politely decline 75% of the time you still need a separate suitcase (or the big sturdy reusable tote offered at the Cost Plus World Market booth stuffed to the gills) to take home everything.

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And while I came home with some lovely things that I am already enjoying, I brought home just too much stuff for one small family in a small home. Some is being donated to local organizations who can benefit, but I’d like to give the rest to you! The reason I attended BlogHer is because I am a blogger, and the reason this blog exists is because of you.

One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win the official BlogHer 2015 canvas tote received at Check In chock full of swag (click here to see what brands sponsored the event and were at the Expo Hall). Yes there’s swag from BlogHer, but also swag I received from two recent fashion events and some of the items that were in the gift bags at my blog anniversary party (as well as one of the party’s reusable totes). To sweeten the deal, I’m also including a business card case from Dagne Dover and a leather handbag from ECCO.

BlogHer was a crazy, overwhelming, fun, and inspiring experience and I have you to thank for the opportunity. So are you ready to find out how to snag my swag?

How to Enter

BlogHer 2015 Snag my Swag Giveaway

Since I am paying for shipment and this is a pretty darn heavy bag of swag, I have to limit this giveaway to only those who reside in the United States and it will be sent by USPS. Hang tight I’ll be having some international giveaways in the future! Giveaway ends August 2, 2015 at midnight ET. Winner will be chosen by random and contacted by email. If winner does not reply back within 48 hours another random winner will be chosen. Good luck and thank you for reading and supporting Wardrobe Oxygen!

BlogHer 2015: A Conference Recap

sheknows blogher 2015 experts among us conferenceI’ve been blogging a decade and I’ve never attended a blogging conference. While I love Wardrobe Oxygen and do see it as a job, my day job and family take precedence and I just couldn’t justify using my hard-earned PTO to fly across the country alone to network with bloggers and brands. But this year, BlogHer was in New York. And this year I turned 40. And Wardrobe Oxygen turned 10. And Emerson turned 6, which is a great age for travel and new experiences. So when I mentioned the BlogHer conference to Karl he suggested the three of us head to the Big Apple together. On my birthday this past January I bought my conference ticket and booked our room at the Hilton Midtown.

And then I proceeded to forget about it. Birthdays, final arm surgeries, my blog anniversary party, most everything else took priority. Next thing I knew it was two weeks until we were leaving and I hadn’t done any planning. What did I have to pack? What was I going to WEAR??? To add to my panic, when I received the email from BlogHer that Boys II Men were performing at the closing party I realized OMG OMG OMG I had our hotel reservation set to check out Saturday!  I tried to update our reservation online but the hotel was sold out.  I called Hilton and thanks to my old job requiring me to travel so often I was a HHonors member and was able to get a deluxe room for Saturday night and at the standard room rate (note to all, join those free honor programs, it can’t hurt and can help in a pinch!).

Then to add to my piss-poor planning panic, after talking to Hilton and updating our reservation I was in Emerson’s room with her.  She forgot to X out the previous day on her calendar so we got a marker and did it together and discussed upcoming events.  I reminded her of our upcoming trip to New York and noticed “Sleepover at Grandma’s” on the Sunday after BlogHer.  OMG OMG OMG that sleepover is because Karl and I had tickets to My Morning Jacket.  Did I really double-book BlogHer and MMJ?  You KNOW my love for this band, but even if I did decide to miss the show for BlogHer, my tickets were bought through the fan club and at Will Call, I wouldn’t even be able to sell them or give them to a friend!  I FREAKED.  I went into our room and Karl was in there, I started discussing options – we could leave after my last session Saturday, get home that evening, and still be rested and fresh for the concert the next day.  We could leave right after the closing party, drive through the night, sleep in late and then go to the concert.  I have an old expired license, maybe my sister could take that or my passport and pick up our tickets and sell them or give them to a friend, we do look an awful lot a like.  I started crying (let’s also add I had PMS, insomnia the night prior, and a very stressful project at work) and Karl remembers during my freak-out I said, “But I love My Morning Jacket more than blogging!”  Yeah, don’t think I’ll ever live that down.  I texted my sister about my predicament and she reminded me that the concert was the FOLLOWING Sunday.  Yep, I went bonkers and never checked any of the other calendars in the house to realize I wrote sleepover in the wrong Sunday box on that damn Frozen calendar.

I got sleep, my period came and went, the project went well at work, and somehow I got my act together.  The weekend before we left I washed all the clothes in the house, got a mani and pedi and brow wax, took plenty of bedroom mirror selfies and texted to my sister for outfit advice, and got packed by Sunday night.  New York City, here we come!

Wednesday

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A peek into our hotel room, and Emerson dressing up “like a fashion blogger.” I didn’t know fashion bloggers wore the paper covers for hotel drink glasses on their heads, I need to get with that look STAT! You can also see to the left the ever-growing pile of swag.

When pricing taking Amtrak from DC to NYC, we found it was pretty much the same price to take our fuel-efficient car and park at the hotel. Having our car gave us control over when we would arrive and leave and gave us more space for luggage so we decided to drive. It was only a three and a half hour trip, even driving through insane sideways walls of rain on the Jersey Turnpike. We arrived around 1pm Wednesday and check-in at the Hotel Midtown was super friendly and fast. I’m not really sure what a standard room looks like but our HHonors-upgraded room was clean, spacious enough for three people, on the 22nd floor and had a nice view. Wish it had a fridge and coffee maker but otherwise the room had great energy; Karl hates hotels but found this one really comfortable and restful and we all enjoyed our time there.

As mentioned in my “What I Wore to BlogHer” post, we arrived the day before the conference and I went to Getting Gorgeous.  Getting Gorgeous was a big expo hall full of vendors. The main vendor was Restalyne Silk, and they had a roped-off area where they were doing on the spot injections, makeup touch ups, and had a lounge area with non-alcoholic beverages and small treats like macarons and mini cupcakes. Bali was there, offering bra fittings and recommendations and each attendee who got sized received a free bra that would be mailed to their residence in the near future. Trollbeads had a station where you could pick a leather cord and bead and make a bracelet. Chobani let you decorate a lunchbox with chalkboard stickers and pens and when I mentioned my yogurt-loving daughter was back at the hotel, they gave me an insulated bag stuffed to the gills with all their squeezeable yogurt products for kids. The event was weird and overwhelming to me.  I’ve been blogging for 10 years and have gotten over the excitement of swag.  I came with my Rebecca Minkoff Mini M.A.C. which was far too small to hold all the crazy crap vendors were shoving in my hands, and the place was noisy and crowded and full of people who were hell-bent on getting as much free crap they could possibly hold.  I was glad they provided a reusable tote when leaving; it too had a bunch of stuff in it, but gave me the ability to carry home all this randomness.  Seriously, I came with acne skincare (I have no acne), a baby blanket and hooded towel (I have no baby), and 50 Chobani products (and no hotel refrigerator).  However, I met up with Sarah, she introduced me to a few people, and I got out and about in New York and got a bunch more stuff to add to my ‘Snag my Swag’ giveaway!

Thursday

Before the conference festivities started, I had a meeting with NYC-based company AlterKnit (stay tuned, I’ll be sharing more about this company in a future post) so I headed down to the lobby lounge and had a glass of wine with the owner and our quick meeting went much longer than planned because she’s such a cool woman with such a unique company and we just had a blast chatting about fashion, our retail backgrounds, and much more. This was so great; I SUCK at pitching myself, networking, and schmoozing. This brand reached out to me seeing I’d be in NYC, she was kind enough to meet me at the hotel, and it put me at ease for the rest of this networking/conference trip.

I planned on meeting some fellow attendees from a private Facebook group for the conference at the hotel bar and also wanted to see the keynote speaker but my chat with this brand went long so I went up to the 3rd floor and checked in for the conference and got my big bag of swag. I knew I’d be getting even more swag that evening so I went up to the room and dropped off the tote and then went back down to Evening at the Expo.

As I mentioned before, Evening at the Expo is insane. Two floors of vendors each outdoing one another with better swag and promotions. I had no idea how big it would be, even though many told me to bring additional luggage for swag. People were PREPARED, some even had rolly carts and backpacks to carry their swag. I thought it was weird until I started walking through and realized how incredibly brilliant they were. I played Plinko at Dunkin Donuts and won a reusable cold beverage sipper, had my face scanned at La Roache-Posay to see my sun damage and received some samples, ate a bit of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, picked up some flash tattoos for Emerson at WordPress, and saw a ton of familiar faces and passed out a ton of business cards. While the majority of attendees were awesome, there were some swagaholics there bulldozing through the crowd and freaking out over tubes of toothpaste and it was a bit overwhelming. I started on the main floor and grabbed a glass of champagne but only got halfway through when I realized it was almost 7pm. I promised to have dinner with Karl and Emerson so I took my bulging bag of swag and raced back upstairs.

After just four hours in my pumps were plenty and I switched into my SoftSpots sandals even though they didn’t “go” and we walked a couple blocks to Rue 57. Karl and Emerson had checked out Central Park while I was away and they too were a bit exhausted with achy feet. Dinner was amazing, but Emerson wasn’t feeling well and didn’t have any appetite. We wrapped it up a bit quickly so we could get her back to the room. After a warm bath she felt better and fell asleep pretty quickly.

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I took a lot of selfies in the mirrors across the elevators while waiting for one to arrive. I took this one on my way to the StyleCaster suite.

Once she was asleep, I left again for the StyleCaster suite. This seemed to be the only fashion-specific event at BlogHer so I felt I HAD to attend. I put back on my pumps, fluffed my hair, reapplied my lip gloss and arrived around 9 (the event went from 8-10). The suite was so full, there was a line outside and we couldn’t go in until others left. After 30 minutes in line I got in. It was a small living room area, same size dining room area, a bar separating a kitchen area, and then a long hallway to a bedroom. It had to be at least 80 degrees in there and wall to wall people. The living room was full of people frantically typing on their phones, at the half wall between the living and dining room was a woman Periscoping her experience with a selfie stick. In the dining room was a huge machine where you could get your BlogHer tote silkscreened with an image on the back – sunglasses, palm trees, that sort of thing and more people making selfie videos for social media. Along the wall was a make your own taco station which considering the crowd, heat, and that I was there over an hour after the event started looked pretty sketchy and anyways I was full on steak tartare. I was offered a glass of champagne but instead asked for club soda on ice and blew on the drink to send cold air towards my face as I walked down the hall to see what was in the final room. To be honest, I can’t recall what was going on in there, but it wasn’t anything that looked appealing enough for me to wedge myself through the bodies to experience. It seemed the swag from the event was camo-printed flip flops that looked the size and style to be for men and even though they were huge and not terribly fashionable, attendees were stuffing pair after pair in their bags as though it was the Lily for Target collection. I had enough, my club soda and I raced to the elevator and within a half hour had showered and was in my jammies in bed hoping the next day at the conference would be better.

Friday

Breakfast was at 8am; I forgot to set an alarm but I also forgot to close the curtains that evening and we all woke up with the sun. Karl went down to the lobby to score us some coffee and that journey took 45 minutes. I think everyone had the same idea! I got ready, kissed the fam, and headed down to the 3rd floor Ballroom.  I didn’t come with anyone and hadn’t coordinated with anyone for breakfast, which I actually liked. I showed up, went through the buffet, and then found a seat at an empty table (I was there pretty early, like 8:15). As the hour went by, my table filled up with an incredibly diverse group of women. A boomer humorist, a pair of women who have a health products business and blog, an erotica writer… this is starting to sound like a “…walked into a bar” joke but it really was that crazy diverse! After was the welcome from the folks at SheKnows and BlogHer, and then the keynote speakers – Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez and journalist and Starfish Foundation founder Soledad O’Brien. However I had set up a 9:15 meeting with another company. He was running late, I had yet to get the lay of the land, I ended up on the second floor of the Expo hall to find his booth and wait for him and saw a couple vendors including RealTimes. RealTimes reached out to me before the conference and asked me to make a 60-second video with their product for them to show at their booth. I got there and there was me on their big screens! It was a totally surreal experience and if you follow me on Instagram you saw a bit of it. Here’s the video below in its entirety; RealTimes is a pretty cool tool that makes it uber easy to take your photos and videos and create a gorgeous polished video right from your phone. Not only that, it’s easy to share with friends and family.


So I finally met up with the rep from the company but by this time I was running late for a session with Amazon. He was kind enough to race all over the hotel with me as I was trying to figure out where the hell this session was. I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE and once I figured it out, I had missed it as well as Speed Dating (a way for newbie conference attendees to get to know one another). It was time for the first learning session so I shook the rep’s hand goodbye and went off to find my next destination.

There were a ton of interesting sessions, but I decided on Personal Brand for Creatives. The session was to help people “clarify their true personal brands.” I was a few minutes late and slipped in the back and found a seat. Ten minutes later, I was, as they stated in the welcome, voting with my feet and walking out the door. It may be because I’ve been blogging for so long, it may be because I heard almost the same Stepford Blog advice at rewardStyle MasterClass a few weeks prior, or it may be because I couldn’t take them saying, “like ummmmmm, like soooooo, like wow, like” any more but I had to get out of there right away. I ended up walking out at the same time as Jeniese. I had never met Jeniese before but I knew her blog and style and Sarah had virtually introduced us and was excited to catch up with her. We headed to lunch where we joined Georgette and Sandra and got pretty decent seats for the next keynote speaker – Gwyneth Paltrow. I’ve never been a Gwyneth lover or hater. She’s not really on my radar. But I must say her discussion with BlogHer co-founder Elisa Camahort Page was pretty awesome, candid, and relatable!

After lunch I said goodbye for now to my new friends and raced to my next session. Again, it was hard to choose a topic, but I decided to go hard or go home and went with Blog to Book. I’ve wanted to write a book since I was in elementary school and it’s the reason why I started a blog. The session description said it would, “…dig into the three components that are now a necessary part of any prospective author’s toolkit: content, a proposal, and your platform.” The three panelists were very different and reached their book deals in very different ways. I loved hearing their stories and liked them as people (and now want to read all of their books), but I didn’t feel as though I left with any concrete tools that will help me reach any goal.

I was starting to feel very OVER this conference. The crowds, the meh sessions, and oh my GAWD all the people oblivious to the world around them taking up the middle of aisles, speaking loudly in sessions, using selfie sticks, and doing whatever they wanted to get the content they desired for their blog or social media. I don’t want to be one of these people. I don’t want to miss life because I’m so busy documenting it. I won’t want to be the asshole with the selfie stick bumping into people to try to get my good side in good light. Any hint at considering Periscope or Snapchat went completely out the window seeing all these rude folks being utterly insane with their phones and tablets. I decided then and there if tomorrow’s first session was also meh I was leaving the conference and spending the rest of my time with my family seeing the city.

I thought this as I raced upstairs to the Amazon suite, which I finally found. I walked in and my blood pressure immediately lowered. The staff was peppy, but not manic. And I realized one thing that was missing that transformed me – daylight! The suite was full of windows and the sun was streaming in. It was 3:30pm by this point and it was the first time I had seen the outside since I left the hotel room that morning. I got there a bit early and instead of taking a seat in front, I went near the back where there was a couch and got a spot next to a wall, armrest, and a window I could comfortably look out. The room was beautifully decorated, very airy but festive. The room started to fill, but everyone seemed as chilled out as I was feeling that moment. One of the employees from Amazon came over, she recognized me and told me how much she liked my blog and capsule wardrobes. Dee ended up sitting next to me, I loaned her my phone charger and we talked fashion blogging, photography, and monetization. The presentation was beneficial; I’ve been part of Amazon’s affiliate program, Associates, for many years but don’t make much money from it. I know many bloggers who find it to be their best source of income but couldn’t figure out how. I learned about some nice looking and useful tools they’re rolling out later this year and learned more about the Fashion division at Amazon.

After the session, my new Amazon buddy came over and we chatted a bit more in depth and I shared my issues with the Associates program and how other programs were easier and faster to find links and make widgets (like those rotating image carousels I’ve started using in posts for shopping the looks or finding related products). She said this was super helpful and did I have time to walk down to Amazon’s NYC headquarters and chat with some of their developers and folks on their Fashion team? Um… heck yeah! It was nice, we spent about an hour and I was completely honest with them about how yes, I do want to make money on the blog but no, I don’t want to be spammy and make this site a shill-fest to do so. I let them know that you readers keep me in line – you call me out when I make bad sponsorship decisions (doubt I’ll be partnering with a car or kitchen appliance company again!), you tell me when I make it harder for you to peruse the site or when my pricepoints are too high. I’m not going to sacrifice your trust in me for a few bucks. They got it, and unlike a lot of other affiliate programs I’ve used they thought that was awesome and showed me tools that not only look good and aren’t intrusive, but are pretty useful. Expect to see some of them used by me in the future, I look forward to your honest feedback.

I walked back to the hotel around 6pm and the streets were full of folks getting off work. The weather was gorgeous and I likely strutted down the street, I felt great. Also, I was outside! Fresh air! And while I was completely surrounded by people for the first time all day I felt I was alone and loved it. And then it clicked. The “it” I’ve come to call Festival Mode.

No matter how many times I go to a music festival, the first day is overwhelming. The crowds, the smells, the walking. Oh gosh, all these young kids, I feel so old, I feel so fat. Oh gosh I have to race here, race there, can’t miss this show, can’t miss that meetup! I dash around, a crazed woman cracked out on FOMO and the day ends either with a headache, an argument with Karl, or me passed out asleep on a blanket in some field. Then the next day I wake up and remember that this event is on my terms. I stop worrying about not being this or that, I stop stressing out about sticking to a schedule. It’s not about what I can’t but what I am. I wear what makes me feel confident, I let the day take the reins instead of an Excel spreadsheet, I embrace my independence and have a blast.

Walking past Radio City Music Hall that afternoon I finally hit Festival Mode and was ready to rock this conference! I had missed the Voices of the Year Community Keynote and Reception but that’s okay. I’m not going to stress on what I missed but focus on what I will experience.  I went upstairs, took a shower, got dressed, and was ready for the next adventure on my schedule.

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I royally impressed my 21-year-old cousin with this photo

At 7:30 I was scheduled to see an early screening of Grandfathered, a sitcom coming out this fall starring John Stamos and Josh Peck. I got there a bit early and the Voices of the Year reception was still happening so I grabbed a plate of finger food and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. I went into the viewing room, got a seat in the front row, and enjoyed a very funny show with very nice eye candy starring as I had my nice little snack. After, Josh Peck came out and answered questions and then got his picture taken with all the attendees. I’m too old to go all gaga for him (he was the Josh from the kids show Drake & Josh) but a lot of the attendees were mega fangirling. He handled it so well, he was so funny and charming and made the best off the cuff jokes. For example, the host said, “we have a question from Corinne from The Feminist Feline…” and he cut in and said, “that’s my favorite site!” It was even funnier when they read her question and it was her asking him for his hand in marriage!

Saturday

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There’s me at the end of the table! Photo via SheKnows.

Instead of regular breakfast in the ballroom, I signed up to attend the SheKnows Influencer breakfast. I was recently accepted into this program and knew jack about it. The breakfast was in the same exact size and layout suite as the one for StyleCaster but with only about a dozen in attendance it was far more comfortable. They had a photographer set up in the bedroom to take headshots, and in the dining room they had breakfast burritos and plenty of coffee and juice. I sat down with a few other bloggers (Jenni, Kat, James, and Mitch) and we had such an animated conversation I ended up not learning anything about the Influencer program! Julie and Jenny just said come back for the afternoon ice cream social and we could chat then.

I had a makeover session scheduled at the Infusium 23 booth but had so much fun chatting with other bloggers I was late. No biggie, I’m in Festival Mode, so I went to the ballroom where The Pitch was taking place. The Pitch was an opportunity for some female entrepreneurs to share their 60-second speech and answer questions from a panel of successful women in business. Then we the audience could vote for the winner via Twitter. It was such a cool and inspiring session, the amazing programs and products these women created and how passionate they were. It was hard to pick a favorite, Majora Carter, one of the most inspiring, won. Learn more about her program, Start up Box, here.

On to the next one… my next session was Video Content Development and Storyboarding. Yep, I plan on getting into video this year! And I have to say this panel was amazing. I wrote three pages of notes. The panelists were Jenni Chiu of MommyNaniBooboo (who was also at the Influencers breakfast and super nice person), Melissa Haggerty from SheKnows, and Kim Holderness who you may know from her family viral hit video, “Christmas Jammies.” These women kept it real. They didn’t speak generalizations but gave concrete advice, offered specific equipment to purchase, real tips on monetization and SEO. But the best part of the panel was over and over Kim Holderness would reply to questions with, “GET OVER YOURSELF.” As I mentioned in my last BlogHer post, she wasn’t being a jerk, she was just reminding us to stop letting perfection hold us back. We don’t need fancy equipment or editing skills or good lighting. We just need to do it. And it was such a good slap in the face for me. I hold back on a lot in life because I don’t think I am ready or good enough. And I just need to get over myself and DO. I left feeling really positive and inspired.  When I stepped out I saw my friend Stephanie from Popnod.  She took my picture in front of the BlogHer plant wall for this great project she’s doing.

I then headed back to the Expo. I had yet to really see all the vendors. I started on the second floor, said hi to the Infusium 23 folks and they apologized for not being able to fit me in later and gave me some products and coupons. I walked past the RealTimes booth and again my video was up there and someone said, “OMIGOD THAT’S YOU!” and it felt totally surreal and I giggled. I met a company who makes really stylish glasses for people like me who sit in front of computers all day and we shared contact information – I think they’re a smart fit for the blog and I’ll see if I can get some discount or giveaway from them for you all. I met with an affiliate program I occasionally use and gave them my honest thoughts about their site and how awkward it is and why I hardly ever use it. I went back downstairs and played Plinko again to win Karl and Emerson matching pink Dunkin Donuts sunglasses.  However, most of the vendors at the Expo were not appropriate for Wardrobe Oxygen.  In fact, I found there was a major disconnect between the women I met at the conference and the brands.  I met so many women who blogged about things other than motherhood and housekeeping, yet most of the vendors were geared towards moms, frugal living, and bargains for the home.  The women in attendance were savvy businesswomen, even if their blogs are solely hobbies; yet vendors pushing their affiliate programs were SHOCKED that I not only knew what Alexa was, but my blog’s monthly visitors, bouncerate, and pageviews off the top of my head.  As a fashion and beauty blogger, I could count the vendors on one hand that were appropriate for the blog.

I decided to miss lunch and Christy Turlington Burns speaking and instead left the hotel and went to lunch with Karl and Emerson. They both agreed I seemed like a different person from the day before. I felt like one. I wasn’t stressed, I wasn’t panicked and I wasn’t doubting myself. The crowds weren’t annoying me, I was taking the positive and ignoring the negative and having fun. After lunch, I headed to the second session which was also about video. This panel… not as useful. It seemed both general and too specific for me who has yet to publish a single video so in the words of Elisa Camahort Page, I voted with my feet and left.

I went back to the SheKnows suite for their second SheKnows Influencers meeting, and this time I was able to talk to Julie and a bunch of the other amazing people like Liz.  Seriously, I have never met a company that has such wonderful personalities.  All so different, so unique, opinionated, and warm.  Big fan.  I did a quick video about who I am and what I am an expert in and again enjoyed being in a room that had windows.  After this get together, I went back to the hotel room, Emerson and Karl were there taking naps and I decided to join them. Took a quick 30-minute rest, a shower and got ready for the evening.

BlogHer 2015 closing party image via WetPaint

See the guy kinda in the middle of the audience in the electric blue shirt? My short self was standing next to him! (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for McDonald’s via wetpaint)

Chartered buses took BlogHer attendees to Pier 84 where the area was cordoned off. We showed our bracelets, had our lanyards scanned and entered what sort of reminded me of the VIP section of a music festival. There was a huge stage, a couple gazebos with outdoor furniture, tables with colorful Lucite chairs, mats out on the grass. The event was sponsored by McDonald’s and there were these cute boys in red tee shirts that said “I’m Lovin’ It!” with lucite trays full of Cheeseburgers, Chicken McNuggets, and McFrappes. There was a DJ on stage playing popular pop tunes with the occasional throwback mixed in. The weather was lovely, we were next to The Intrepid and could see folks lining up for ferry. I grabbed a cheeseburger and headed to the open bar, where there was an insane selection of SVEDKA flavored vodkas you could mix with McDonald’s regular and strawberry lemonade and other beverages. I grabbed a drink and took a walk around this surreal environment. I danced a bit, People Watched behind my Ray-Ban aviators, and then went out to the water’s edge to see the view and take a breather from the hyper color and intensity of it all. Then they announced that Boyz II Men were taking the stage.

THIS is why I stuck around Saturday and had a mild panic attack over Emerson’s calendar error. I graduated from high school in 1993 and Boyz II Men were EVERYTHING then. While I was late getting to the stage, once a lot of bloggers got their selfies with the band in the background and SnapChatted a bit of the show, they dispersed and I could move forward. They sounded pretty good, and at first they weren’t into it and I felt like it was an obligation for them before they headed to Atlantic City that evening for a show they actually DID want to do. But when all the selfie sticks went down and the crowd left were actually interested they too seemed more interested. They did four songs and the audience loved it. And yep, I too did a selfie, but tried to keep my phone out of other people’s faces.

But after they left the stage, I was ready to go. I had two very sweet vodka drinks and a room temperature cheeseburger and had no desire for more. The shuttles weren’t going back to the hotel yet so I used my Uber app and got a ride home with two other bloggers staying at the Hilton. I got back just in time to catch Karl and Emerson getting ready to go to dinner; we decided to finish the trip off with a bang and went to a steakhouse where I enjoyed a NY Strip, broccoli, and a glass of Cabernet that was hella better than McDonald’s and got to hear all about Emerson’s exciting adventures in the city.

A few things I recommend taking to BlogHer or a similar conference:

  • A surge protector. There’s never enough outlets in a hotel room and they’re always hard to reach under furniture. We plugged this one under the desk and had plenty of outlets in easy reach.
  • External battery pack. I got this one and it held juice for several days and took my phone from 10% to 75% in the time it took Gwyneth to do her keynote. Worth it.
  • A Sharpie.  Sharpies are great for writing on really glossy business cards (write on each card you get some sort of trigger to help you remember the person associated with the card) and marketing materials.  I had plenty of pens but found I used my Sharpie at least once a day.
  • Notebook.  I totally thought when I went I’d be taking my laptop and live-blogging or at least typing at a lot of the sessions.  Newp.  That thing is heavy, the wireless was spotty, and most sessions you don’t have a desk or table in front of you.  I brought an old-school composition notebook which was utter perfection – lightweight but a hard cover making it easy to jot down notes from my lap.  Also I could tear out a page to write a note for another attendee without ruining it.
  • Business cards with your photo on them. Take 200, you’ll likely come home with some but you’ll pass out more than you expect. Others are doing the same and once you get home it’s easy to forget who was the person associated with the card. Get some with your photo (and a recent one where you look like you) and be sure the colors and branding match your blog so you’re easy to remember.  I made my business card design on PicMonkey (Google the pixel size of specific business cards you’re ordering to make your graphic fit nicely) and then had them made by MOO, who not only provides gorgeous high-quality cards that stand out in a crowd, they send them in a nice box that keeps them from getting all bent up and grody in your bag.
  • Water. Take a water bottle with you. Stay hydrated. Yes, there’s water machines around but a little Dixie cup isn’t enough to keep you functioning at your best.  A reusable bottle is great since there were plenty of stations where you could refill it.
  • Flat shoes. Even if you’re a heels girl like me, you NEED flat shoes, and I don’t mean ballet flats or cheap flip flops. You want some structure and cushioning because you’re going to be on your feet a lot.  I wore my SoftSpots a lot and loved how the Aerosoles Screen Saver sandals had thin delicate straps but didn’t dig and they had super cushy soles. Along with this, have shoe variety so your feet get a break each day with the change.
  • Space for swag. When they say you need a separate suitcase for your swag, they’re right. I ended up using a reusable tote provided at one of the booths, but if you’re taking public transportation plan ahead with plenty of space for what is worthy to take home.
  • A smartly designed tote. This is not the place for your adorable little crossbody. You want a structured bag that can sit upright when placed on a table, slips over your shoulder comfortably, and has a place for everything. I took the Dagne Dover tote and it was brilliant; I ended up not carrying around my laptop but I did have a notebook, pens and Sharpies, water, business cards, my phone, my battery pack, a makeup bag, a snack, mints, and the occasional unexpected swag and this bag kept it all organized. I could grab a pen or business card without having to remove the bag from my shoulder and dig around. Saved time and I looked far more polished than rummaging around squatting on the floor.

Would I Go to BlogHer Again?

I don’t know. I didn’t learn a ton, and while I met some amazing and wonderful people it wasn’t really my niche for blogging so I don’t think it benefitted me professionally or creatively. I think if I was a personal blogger I would go every year because the conference is really set up to help bloggers get their voice heard. The conference was extremely well organized, it was a lot of fun and the BlogHer and SheKnows people are AMAZING, but as a fashion blogger I’d likely take a pass and try a different conference next year unless there was a special event fitting my niche or I was asked to speak on a panel. But I am so glad I did go, it was a great experience and it left me feeling inspired and renewed!

BlogHer 2015 Conference: What I Wore

sheknows blogher 2015 experts among us conferenceWhile I plan to share a complete recap of the conference, first and foremost we have to talk clothes, right? I spent some time before heading to BlogHer looking for blog posts about what people packed and wore to the conference and while hundreds of people attend every year few seem to really delve into what was in their suitcase for their trip. I read it should be business casual, wear flat shoes, and no one really cares. And I know that, but if I’m going to be passing out my business card every five minutes telling folks I am a FASHUN BLOGGER I better as heck look the part!

Wednesday

Agenda: Drive to NYC from DC through sideways walls of rain on the Jersey Turnpike. Karl drove, Waze and I were the navigators, Emerson oblivious in the back listening to “Baby” by Justin Beiber on repeat

What I Wore: Gap Sexy Boyfriend Denim Shorts in bleached wash, J. Crew Factory striped bracelet-sleeve knit top, silver Birkenstocks

The conference didn’t start until the next day but we decided to get there a day early so I’d be rested, ready, meet with some non-BlogHer companies, and see the city a bit with the family.

Agenda: Attend Getting Gorgeous (a fashion, beauty and mom expo)

What I Wore: The same exact outfit I wore in this post, with the addition of bright red lips and my Rebecca Minkoff leopard calfhair Mini M.A.C.

10518277_873034399416777_660158929_n 11427259_477267629114055_426649860_nI met up with Sarah from Style It at the expo, she and I got linner and did a bit of shopping. We then headed to my hotel, we met up with Karl and Emerson and the four of us went to dinner.

Thursday

Agenda: See a bit of New York before I had to put on my blogger hat. The weather was gorgeous – bright blue sky, very low humidity, and a slight breeze.

What I Wore: White sleeveless slub v-neck from Old Navy, my favorite DIY distressed denim shorts from Target, a red bandanna for a bit of color and my trusty SoftSpots sandals that have gotten me through many a music festival and day of sight-seeing

11745677_10153006069123372_2094542584896651631_nI loved the shirt when I got it but feared it shrinking so I line dried it.  I hadn’t worn it again until this trip and it got wonky and lost it’s appeal.  I still wore it because it was comfortable and breezy and I wasn’t trying to be fashion blogger at this time, just mom getting her child through Times Square without being lured in by the fake Spongebobs and Elmos wanting $5 for a photo (totally reminded me that episode of Kimmy Schmidt)

Agenda: Meeting in the hotel lounge with a brand, check in for the BlogHer conference, attend the Evening at the Expo (where I got most of the swag I’m offering in this giveaway)

What I Wore: The Dead Weather Band tee (neck and sleeves cut for a more flattering fit), my pale pink Vince Camuto blazer, Gap Real Straight jeans (ankle length, rinse wash), silver name hoops, my silver Nine West ‘Flax’ pumps and the Rebecca Minkoff bag

11325009_673815589419206_943203045_n 1389158_450349201813986_1261274895_n

I just HAD to take a picture with Aquafresh Man!

11751864_10153006070588372_550626062511441115_nI left the expo early to have dinner with the family. After just three hours my feet were killing me so I switched into my SoftSpots sandals.

Agenda: StyleCaster suite, the only “fashion” event on my agenda that was part of the BlogHer conference. I slipped back on the silver heels and reapplied my lipstick and went as-is.

Friday

Agenda: Jam-packed day starting at 8am full of learning sessions, keynote speakers, and a few meetings with companies and brands.

What I Wore: Black Loveappealla jumpsuit, J. Crew Factory denim jacket, Vince Camuto ‘Effel’ sandals (link to similar that’s still in stock), Dagne Dover tote (c/o, they were awesome enough to send me the bag for the conference), silver name hoops

11375123_1875145992709770_908905493_n11375355_926726464032859_396820134_nI wore this look until about 6pm when I got back from a client meeting a few blocks away. While it was comfortable (and the shoes, as always, were comfy), I found wearing a jumpsuit that had to be closed at the bust with a safety pin AND a denim jacket AND a tote bag AND a pair of Spanx (and for a period of time another tote full of swag) was far too much for using public bathrooms all day. Note to all, dress for the ability to pee quickly in close quarters!

Agenda: Invited to a sneak preview of a sitcom coming out this fall and meet one of the stars.

What I Wore: My Plenty by Tracey Reese orange and black print jersey maxi dress, J. Crew Factory denim jacket, my SoftSpots sandals

11745626_10153006069083372_8705408457771523788_nI also wore this after the event to walk down the street and get a pizza for family dinner. We had a wild hotel party with ginger ale and America’s Got Talent, but honestly I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

Saturday

Agenda: Another long day filled with sessions, speakers, and racing from floor to floor.

What I Wore: My crazy floral Etsy maxi dress, yellow Born ‘Myndy’ sandals, and Dagne Dover tote

Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen at BlogHer 2015This dress served me really well. Some recognized me from Getting Gorgeous because it was also a bold print and I stood out in a crowd. It was comfortable, and when I told people I was a blogger they usually guessed right off that my niche was fashion. Also, wearing orange I coordinated with all the conference branding, and it made for a really great photo against the BlogHer garden wall.

Agenda: End of event party at Pier 84, hosted by McDonald’s, where Boyz II Men were performing, also starring DJ Spider and Nick Cannon

What I Wore: Black Loveappella jumpsuit, Aerosoles ‘Screen Saver’ sandals in red, my silver name hoops, and because my hair was NOT behaving and I knew I’d likely get sweaty dancing, my red bandana tied into a headband, Rebecca Minkoff purse

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Bad blogger, didn’t get an outfit photo in, but I did get a photo with the fabulous Georgette!

My hair was NOT behaving so a headband was good. It was also good because it was a bit humid and I can’t help but dance when I hear Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” 30 minutes into this surreal experience (it was like the VIP section at a music festival with all you can eat McDonald’s and an open bar full of flavored vodkas and most of the attendees are moms who really needed a girl’s night out) I was sweaty, my hair was cray, and I was glad for the bandana and also my Ray-Ban aviators.

11221630_10153006069748372_8295468623758138328_oI wore the same thing when I went to dinner with Karl and Emerson later that evening.

Sunday

Agenda: Heading home

What I Wore: My Make Art Not War tee shirt, distressed Target shorts, silver Birkenstocks, and a denim shirt around my waist in case it got chilly in the car

We woke up by 7, were on the road by 9, and home by 1pm! And of course, I always pack things that don’t get worn…

What I Didn’t Wear: My Karen Kane jumpsuit (I planned to wear it to the McDonald’s party), distressed jeans, white jeans, my black spaghetti strap jersey midi sundress from LOFT (thought I may wear sight-seeing but never had the chance), a gray Old Navy vintage v-neck (it was backup).

What I Would Do Differently Next Time

  • More Color. Wearing the black jumpsuit Friday was like blending into the wall. Have a signature thing when you go to a conference, that matters more than being stylish or trendy or cool. Funky glasses, a blue streak in your hair, wild patterned Vans… it doesn’t have to be your outfit specifically but it’s good to have something to have you stand out and be a consistent concept through all the days. If I had worn a funky print Friday I would have created a signature look that people would have remembered. If I could do it over I would have worn Wednesday’s outfit on Friday.
  • More Casual Saturday Night Look. I packed my Karen Kane jumpsuit for it, figuring it’s comfortable and festive but by the time the evening came it felt too formal. Also… by the time that night came there was no way in hell I was wearing even ½” heels! I re-wore my other jumpsuit and no one could tell because this time it wasn’t under a denim jacket and also NO ONE CARES. No one is taking a tally of your wardrobe, so go ahead and re-wear the same things if they’re clean and you’re confident in them.  But if you like fancy, go fancy. There were women there in shorts and tee shirts and I saw a few in cocktail dresses and heels.  The general idea was festive summer party – lots of sundresses, rompers, cute tops with cropped pants and no one judged if you were wearing fugly but uber comfy shoes by this point.
  • Not Worry About My Figure. I have NO IDEA why I felt the need to wear heavy duty Spanx Saturday. I felt like a stuffed sausage and it made going to the bathroom more complicated. The other days I did wear a light control (I love these from DKNY), but more to prevent jiggling than to try to change my size. There are women in every single size and shape you can imagine at BlogHer and the only thing anyone notices is if you are having fun and are friendly. SERIOUSLY.

At one of the panels, a speaker was being asked how she became successful. Attendees wanted her fame, her sponsorsorships but they didn’t have the technical know-how, the equipment, the training on editing, etc. etc. Her answer to all of them was GET OVER YOURSELF. She wasn’t being rude, she was being RIGHT. We are what holds us back. We can say it’s lack of money or time, that we’re too busy taking care of others, our job is a beast, the kids suck us dry, we’re a caregiver and have nothing left for ourselves. I’m not going to be one of those fitness people who say those are all excuses NOW GO DO 50 BURPEES!!!! but they are choices. We can make excuses as to why we are in the situation we are in, and that’s fine but we need to remember this is OUR life, it does not belong to another. Don’t miss out on a good time because you’re too wrapped up in thinking you’re not stylish enough, not thin enough, not firm enough, not young enough. That’s all crap, and it was clear at BlogHer that, to paraphrase Audrey Hepburn, the prettiest people were the happiest ones. No one cared what you were wearing (except to be able to find you in a crowd and recognize you from one day to the next), they cared who you were.

So if you’re reading this post trying to figure out what to wear to BlogHer or a similar conference, be sure to put YOU in your wardrobe. Anyone can wear that dress, but it’s you who makes it special. And above all else, WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES!

Coming to a TV Near You: GRANDFATHERED on FOX [Sponsored]


GRANDFATHERED on FOX starring John Stamos and Josh Peck, a review by Wardrobe Oxygen
One of the fun things I did at the BlogHer conference was attend a preview screening of the FOX sitcom, GRANDFATHERED. This series will premier Tuesday, September 29th at 8/7c, but a few of us attendees got to hang out in a conference room and watch it early on the big screen. John Stamos plays Jimmy Martino, a successful restaurateur and ultimate bachelor. The show starts with Jimmy plucking a gray hair and admiring his reflection in the mirror. He’s used to being the most suave and good looking single guy in a room, who charms every woman he meets. All of this changes when Jimmy finds out that not only does he have a son (Gerald, played by Josh Peck), but his son has a little daughter named Edie.

I was already happy to chill out, drink some wine and watch me some dashing John Stamos, but I was really entertained by the show. Many times I whipped out my phone to jot down a hysterical line from it. One of my favorites was, “Parenthood is an endless stream of moments when you think you killed your kid.” Another was when Gerald’s mom says, “I’m cool, I watch Portlandia.” Stamos’ character is a stylish man, and there were many funny lines about fashion (and Peck’s character’s lack of style). There were also some amazing celebrity cameos; I won’t ruin it for you but it’s quite a variety (nope, no Beach Boys you Stamos/Full House fans!). I must say I liked all the characters in the show, the attention to detail, how it was a cute feel-good sitcom without being too cheesy or syrupy.

After the show, Josh Peck joined us and answered all of our questions. Not surprisingly, many of the questions from the women in the audience were about John Stamos. He said Stamos is a great guy, and gives great advice. One thing John Stamos told Josh Peck was, “Don’t be trendy. Trendy will bite you in the ass in five years.” Great advice for a grown-up child star trying to make a fresh name for himself, but also for the rest of us! I was impressed with Josh Peck, who was charming, funny, and able to be completely off the cuff.

Don’t miss the series premiere of GRANDFATHERED Tuesday Sept 29 at 8/7c on FOX. To learn more about GRANDFATHERED, check it out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and join the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Grandfathered.

BlogHer Life Well Lived – Finding Inspiration

BlogHer asked me to answer their Life Well Lived Looking Your Best question,

“What are your favorite resources for inspiration on style, fashion, beauty and living life well?”

 

Books

I love reading books because they force me to create images in my head. While a novel may state that the protagonist is a brunette or wearing a navy dress, the rest of the description is truly up to me. I envision each character – how they dress, they walk, they talk and I think about why I chose that trait. It’s a great exercise to see style beyond what is on the television, and also to see how I look at style. From this, I often get inspiration for my own wardrobe.

Along with novels, I also love style books. This past weekend I finally got around to reading Ari Seth Cohen’s book Advanced Style and it was so inspiring. These fabulous women with fabulous personal style, making their own rules and looking gorgeous while doing so. The book has very little text, but each quote gave me such food for thought.

Magazines

If you read this blog regularly, you know I love Real Simple. They show wearable fashion at reasonable price points, and each issue ends up adding some new item to the shopping list for Target, Sephora, or Drugstore.com. Through Real Simple I have learned about life-changing night creams, skin-clearing gentle face washes, and lip glosses that make me actually like lip glosses. I also learn ways to simplify my life and daily routines, giving me time to actually life my life and not be a machine.

While I love Real Simple for showing great pieces that are buyable now, I do love falling into the fantasy that is in high-end fashion magazine spreads. I could look at a Vogue spread for an hour, creating characters, imagining situations, and also trying to see into the stylist’s head as to why she put things together in the way she did. Letting my mind wander on a spread gives me a lot of inspiration for my own wardrobe – creative pairings and unexpected additions.

The Street

Yesterday I passed a woman on the street in lavender skinny jeans, a white v-neck tee, and a gray tweed blazer. The look was so simple, but so fresh and crisp it made me want a pair of lavender jeans in my life. Washington DC isn’t necessarily known for its fashion, but every day I see women who push sartorial boundaries, or who take class and style up a notch.

For every woman in an ill-fitting polyester suit and pair of worn-down TOMS there is one in a perfectly tailored vintage blazer or one-of a kind frock. I also see women who give me ideas for my beauty routine – natural waves, fresh dewy skin, or a shock of color on the lips, eyes or even in the hair. These women give me inspiration, and regularly help me shop within my own closet for completely new ensembles.

We want to know, what are YOUR favorite resources for inspiration on style, fashion, beauty and living life well?  Visit BlogHer and let us know in the comments!  Also be sure to enter the Life Well Lived sweepstakes, where you could win an iPod Touch!

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What I Wore: True Representation

alison gary of wardrobe oxygen personal style over 40 rebecca minkoff mini mac leopard calfhair via wardrobe oxygen Alison Gary of Wardrobe Oxygen 40 year old working mom fashion blog alison gary of Wardrobe Oxygen over 40 fashion advice Jacket: Vince Camuto (similar, similar) | Tee: Etsy | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Nine West ‘Flax’ | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar, similar) | Earrings: Etsy | Watch: c/o Larsson & Jennings | Bracelets: c/o Pura Vida Bracelets (right now get 20% Off With Code JULY20), c/o Lifetherapy (though July get 40% off your entire order with code FF40) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Hey do you recognize me? I wore this Thursday night at the BlogHer conference. The hotel room had an awkward full-length mirror inside the closet, but it seemed okay at 3:30 when I put it on; by 10pm after three glasses of wine I took a selfie in the hallway mirror while waiting for the hotel I felt it was a good representation of me. Last week, Alexandria Stylebook featured me in a post about trends we have felt good in since our school days. For me it’s band tee shirts, but in the past decade it also includes also blazers, either dark rinse or distressed straight leg jeans, pointed toe pumps, silver accessories, and a touch of leopard or cheetah print. I wore this the first night of BlogHer because I felt it was a good representation of not just my style but my self. I know others don’t always remember outfits the way I do but if they do I want it to be a clear representation of Alison.

The older I get the fewer clothes I want. Don’t get me wrong, I could do some damage if I had the funds, but there would be fewer silhouettes in the closet, fewer personalities. I wrote this piece a few years ago and while those women still reside in my wardrobe, the lines separating them are fading and I want to send a clearer message with my clothing choices. And this feels pretty me.

Shop the Look:

Hair Update: How to Style Blunt Bangs

As you know from a previous post, I got a haircut I didn’t expect or necessarily like. It has been a learning experience since then, trying out new products, tools, and methods to style the new ‘do. One of the biggest changes is I now have thick blunt bangs. With naturally wavy hair, it’s not easy to keep the bangs looking great. So when BlogHer asked me if I wanted to choose a video from their extensive BlogHerTV collection and recreate one of their beauty or hair tutorials, I was thrilled. Even more thrilled when I found this video on how to style blunt bangs from Lorenzo of the Warren-Tricomi salon in Los Angeles.


The video instructs that to get great blunt bangs, dry bangs in a sweeping back and forth motion with a paddle brush. This was actually how I was drying my bangs before, but thanks to the video I have added flat ironing with a fine-toothed comb and a fine mist of hair spray to set. Amazing how these added details really improved the look of my blunt bangs, and also kept them looking good for a longer period of time!

If you too are rocking the blunt bangs, I encourage you to check out the video above to get some useful styling tips. And don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win $100!


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What I Wore: Back to My Roots

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a J.Crew Factory denim jacket, Loveappella jumpsuit, BCBGeneration fringe clutch, and ADA Collection wrap belt Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a J. Crew Factory denim jacket Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a BCBGeneration fringe clutch, J. Crew Factory denim jacket, and Vince Camuto sandals Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a black jersey jumpsuit, denim jacket, and cognac sandals and belt Jacket: J. Crew Factory | Jumpsuit: Loveappella (similar in plus size) | Belt: ADA Collection (similar) | Shoes: Vince Camuto (similar, low heel alternative) Bag: BCBGeneration (c/o HSN but sold out on their site so linked to where on sale at Amazon) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Rings: Etsy, Etsy, Etsy | Earrings: Etsy

As I mentioned in this post, I wore a heck of a lot of denim jackets in my retail days. But that was far from the beginning of my relationship with denim jackets. In elementary school I’d steal my mom’s Gap denim jacket, roll up the sleeves, pop the collar, and style with leggings and puffy socks. In middle school one of my favorite outfits was an acid washed calf-length denim pencil skirt and matching oversized jacket (I need to scan a photo of me in it for a #throwbackthursday post on Instagram, believe I styled it with bright blue hi-top Chucks). Come high school, I took that denim jacket and many more and custom decorated them – I sewed buttons or patches on the back, used markers to color trim and do whole designs on panels. I went for a long period of time without a denim jacket, but since I bought this one from J. Crew Factory it has gotten a lot of wear. I’ve thrown it in the washer and dryer twice and it still looks and fits great.

This jumpsuit I mentioned in several posts and have featured a couple times on Instagram (and a blurry shot from my BlogHer conference “What I Wore” post), but never on the blog. This has become a favorite, it’s uber comfortable and easy to dress up and down.

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a Loveappealla jersey jumpsuit with Vince Camuto sandals and a leather obi belt
I know it’s helpful to actually see the garment under a jacket, here’s the jumpsuit by itself. I went up with an XL Regular to have some extra space and less bum-cling or chance for, ahem, camel toe. I’ve found it’s usually a good idea to size up when purchasing jumpsuits, they seem to drape better on my curves.

Shop My Picks for Stretchy Knit Jumpsuits

Life Well Lived – Day to Night Beauty

Recently BlogHer asked some bloggers about our beauty shortcuts – It’s the end of your day and you’re rushing to get ready for an evening out. How do you create a nighttime look in just a few minutes? This is something I deal with often as a full-time working mother as well as a fashion blogger – I often run from an 8-11 hour work day to an evening blogging event or date with my husband. I have learned ways to make a day look quickly and easily transition to evening.

Day to Night Makeup


In my purse I have a small cosmetic bag with essentials to amp up my daytime makeup. A travel-sized tube of volumizing mascara, a black kohl pencil, a creamy lip balm, and a flame red lipstick. What I am wearing determines whether I amp up the eyes, or amp up the lips.

If I am wearing dark colors or a modern silhouette, I usually choose to get a rocker vibe with an intense eye. I will slowly circle my eyes with the kohl liner, use a warm ring finger to smudge a bit, and then add a few coats of mascara to up the intensity. For the lips I will keep it simple with the pinky-brown lipcolor I wore during the day.

If I am wearing bright colors, I find a red lip makes what could be seen as a day look instantly look evening-appropriate. I have a long-wearing red lipcolor so I don’t have to bother with constant reapplication (or lipstick on my teeth or the cheek of the person I air kissed); I use my ring finger to add a thin layer of the lip balm to my eyelids – this makes the face look dressy without sparkle or shimmer. the balm then goes in my bag to keep the long-wearing lipstick shiny and feeling soft all night.

Both makeup updates only take a couple minutes and can completely transform not just my face but my entire ensemble.

I loved reading the other bloggers’ responses to this question – lots of great tips on how to create an evening look in a jiffy. If you too would like to learn other bloggers’ tips for keeping for a quick day-to-night makeup transition, I encourage you to check out this post. While there, share your own personal tips for a quick day to evening look!

While visiting BlogHer, be sure to enter the Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes – share your Life Well Lived Moment and you may win $250!

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Review and Giveaway: J.Jill Uncomplicate Me This Spring

I learn so much from you readers: sites to visit, beauty products to try, and clothing brands to check out. Many of you have raved about J.Jill and how the brand carries quality pieces in regular, petite, tall, and women’s sizes. With spring upon us, I’ve been looking for warm weather clothes to add to my wardrobe. When BlogHer and J.Jill approached me to try out J.Jill’s linen collection, I was excited.Many of you have raved about J.Jill’s linen collection in how it washes and wears so well. Linen is one of the oldest fabrics still in use today; it was first used in Egypt where it was prized for its purity and cleanliness. Today, linen is loved for its breathability, easy care (machine washable and dryable or dry cleaned), and durability – a great linen piece can last for years of wear because it’s 2-3 times the strength of cotton and just gets softer and better with time.

This spring, J.Jill is offering Linen in a Whole New Light. Their popular linen collection is updated with fresh details, blended knits, and watercolor effect prints that offer new ways to experience the fab fabric. J.Jill’s linen blend fabrics include rayon to increase the fabrics’ softness and provide luster and drape; and cotton for softness, a cool touch, and to minimize shrinkage (J.Jill’s linen can take a tumble in the dryer!).

J.Jill Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress

It has been hard finding clothes that work with my cast; something that fits over it, is easy to put on, something uncomplicated. Knit dresses have been great with the cast so I decided to try the Pure Jill Indigo Knit Easy Dress. When it was cold I wore the dress with leggings, tall boots, and a scarf for an easy casual look. With the temps rising, the dress is great for running errands with a pair of tennis shoes or Capri leggings and ballet flats. This is a Large Petite.

J.Jill Linen Big Shirt and Perfect Tank

I’ve wanted a white linen shirt; as soon as I heard about this opportunity I checked out J.Jill’s Linen Big Shirt. I ordered a Petite Large, which fit perfectly… except it didn’t fit over the cast. I went to the store and exchanged it for a Regular XL, which gives it a true big shirt look and fits over my right arm. For this weekend look I paired it with the J.Jill Perfect Tank (size Petite Large) and an old favorite pair of jeans. This shirt would look great knotted over a pencil skirt, belted over skinny jeans, or under a cropped top for a trendy silhouette. I must say the Perfect Tank is exactly that; having a petite tank is a game changer; it still has enough length but the neckline doesn’t gape and my bra straps stay well covered. The tank is an opaque, smooth refined knit that could dress up to be a shell under a casual blazer or paired with a full midi skirt and sandals. I liked this tank so much I got a second one in black!

Interested in checking out J.Jill’s Linen collection to uncomplicate your spring wardrobe? I’ve got two ways for you to do it for less!

Promotion
Use promotion code BLOGHER at checkout and get 30% off one full-priced item! This code is valid through May 21, 2014.

Giveaway

One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 J.Jill gift card! To enter leave me a comment letting me know what is your favorite spring look!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.  The Official Rules are available here.  This sweepstakes runs from 4/3/2014-5/27/2014.

Be sure to visit the J.Jill brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

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Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Serum Review & Giveaway [Sponsored]

BlogHer and Elizabeth Arden recently asked if I’d like to try out Elizabeth Arden’s PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum and share my thoughts with you.  Um… yes please!  PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, sun damage, and uneven skin texture. Not only that, PREVAGE® is formulated with Idebenone, a powerful antioxidant that fights environmental threats, including pollution.

It’s like my face decided this year that it was going to start acting its age; though I am 40 and spent more time in college in a tanning bed or on a beach sans sunscreen than in a lecture hall, I’ve had pretty great skin. However lines are starting to be more pronounced and I’m getting little lines around the eyes and mouth. I have sun damage; a brown spot on my left cheek that arrived a decade ago and far more freckles than I had as a child. I’m the poster child for PREVAGE® and was thrilled to be able to try it. Elizabeth Arden reports that 96% of women who used PREVAGE® saw an improvement in their skin’s overall appearance in just four weeks**. This line of skincare solutions is an alternative to professional procedures helping to give skin a smoother, firmer, more resilient look.

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I received my bottle of PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum a week before this post was due. The packaging is quite impressive, as you see above. A heavy weighted bottle with a mirror finish and an equally luxe box that Emerson quickly took to be part of her homemade cardboard dollhouse (I think it’s the bedroom mirror). I began using the product that very evening, applying three pumps of the Creamsicle-colored lotion to my face, neck, décolleté, and any remainder to my hands that are also realizing their age. I replaced the serum in my usual skincare routine and for a week have used it every morning and every evening under my moisturizer. While it’s far too soon for me to be able to report on any skin improvements with this serum, I can report that my skin seems to like it. No breakouts (which usually happen when switching to a new product), no irritation, no redness. It’s creamy, smells lovely, absorbs nicely and lightly moisturizes. I’ll be sure to report after a full month of using the product to let you know the actual results.

Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum is available at ElizabethArden.com, Macy’s and Nordstrom.

*Bahman, G et al (2009), Factors Contributing to the Facial Aging of Identical Twins.
**Based on a US home use test on 99 women aged 25-65 after 4 weeks.

Giveaway

Do you plan on trying PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum to reverse the signs of environmental damage to your skin? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 VISA gift card.

Entry Instructions: No duplicate comments.  You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.This sweepstakes runs from 4/6/15 – 5/31/15. Be sure to visit the Elizabeth Arden PREVAGE® Anti-aging Daily Serum brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

She Works Hard for the Money: Blogging and Financial Compensation

I like to be transparent with you here on this blog. I have mentioned before that this blog is for profit – this blog is income for my family to make it possible for one of us to stay home and raise our daughter.  I treat this blog as a job – I may make money, but I put in hard work and strive to create a quality product for you.

Financial compensation has become a sensitive topic in the blogosphere. More and more money is out there for bloggers, and one’s vision can be clouded by dollar signs. My vision has been clouded before, but I’ve learned that there is no dollar amount that is worth losing my self-respect or tainting the voice and brand I have built. I’ve had a few readers comment lately on my monetization, and I’d like to explain it more carefully to you – what I do and why I feel okay doing it.  I know this topic is not interesting to everyone, so though I despise them, I’m going to put in a jump for the rest of this lengthy post.


Giveaways. 99% of the time, my giveaways are through BlogHer. I have been a proud member of BlogHer for several years. I think the organization does great things, and they respect me as a person and my goals for this blog.  I am not blackballed if I refuse campaigns, and they understand if bloggers don’t want to participate in programs or ads because they go against their beliefs or ethics or lifestyle.  Every so often, I receive an email from BlogHer asking if I’d like to be part of a certain campaign. I am told the brand, the general direction for the post, and am asked if I fit a certain demographic. Sometimes I apply, sometimes it’s a wrong fit and I decline.  Sometimes I am approved for a campaign I apply for, sometimes I am not.

These giveaways always involve some sort of review or knowledge of the brand mentioned in the post. I receive the product for free as well as money for writing the post and touting it on social media. I don’t half-ass these reviews, I truly use that product more than one time and I believe give a thorough review. Heck, some of the products I review for giveaways become products I purchase again and again. I write all the content – they do give me some wording from the brand about it’s benefits and ingredients and who they see as their customer, but how I use that is 100% moi. I like working with BlogHer because they pick random numbers for giveaways, they understand not everyone uses social media or wants to blog about a giveaway, they always mail the winners their product, and they work with brands that I like and respect. Oh, and the prizes are good stuff – gift cards and fancy gift baskets and such. I won’t do a giveaway if the prize isn’t something I would like to get myself.

For every giveaway/review I do, there’s three I reject because I don’t think they’re a good fit for the blog or I don’t want to be connected with the brand. As for timing… well sometimes I ask to be part of a program in March but it doesn’t go live until July. this can make for some wonky scheduling (I have to go live the day they choose), and can end up having a month that is way too heavy on the sponsored posts. Luckily it usually ends up that the month after is nice and quiet so hopefully those who come by on a regular basis don’t see me as a perma-sellout.

Sponsored Posts. Other than the BlogHer giveaway posts, I don’t do sponsored posts on this blog. I rarely do a guest post, but when I do it’s from someone I know very well and who knows me and my blog very well and I think provides information or a perspective I cannot provide but will still provide content that resonates with my readers. Sometimes I have done sponsored content on a different URL with a teaser here, but I have gotten burned in the past with how it goes, and am far more careful/less likely to do them these days.

Occasionally I am paid to add a bit of javascript to the top of a post to promote some BlogHer promotion, often a giveaway I am not hosting.  The content of the post is organic and something I had scheduled to share anyway on that day.  I don’t do a ton of these, but just like giveaways they are sometimes scheduled at random times and ends up being right after a giveaway post so it looks as though I’m sponsoring every post.  I apologize for that, I do not have control over when they are scheduled and I usually agree at least a month in advance.

Affiliate Links. When I link to the dress I am wearing, if it’s not a gift from a brand and it’s a mass retailer, it’s likely an affiliate link. I primarily use ShopSense, which has an unknown super secret algorithm on how they pay, but it’s not solely based upon you buying items when you link. I also receive a commission if you sign up for Gwynnie Bee past the intro month and use my custom URL link.  I also use affiliate links when I mention music or books, but then use Amazon. I dabble with SkimLinks and RewardStyle and have used Commission Junction in the past and I may use a different program in the future if they make it easy for me to use, don’t force you readers to buy anything for me to profit, and have the brands that I feature naturally on this blog.

Speaking of which, you’ll never see a What I Crave Wednesday or similar post because I don’t want to encourage you to buy anything you don’t want or need. When I discuss brands and items in non-personal outfit posts, I always write the post first and then do the links – if I can’t find an affiliate link for something I mentioned I just do a straight link instead of changing the content. I also provide the brand of each item I wear so you don’t have to click on a link for more information – you can Google the brand and a description and find it. In fact, when it comes to shoes if I know the style name I will share it so you can click on the link, or choose to Google to find it elsewhere.

Banner Ads (Primarily Found in the Sidebar). I use the sidebar (and occasionally other places on the blog) to sell ads. Some come from ad companies (Google AdSense, BlogHer, Burst Media, Technorati, Lijt, etc.), and some come straight from the brands who work directly with me. With the ad companies, I can’t guarantee what they will show, it’s often determined by your web habits. This is why if you went to look at dresses at Lands’ End and then visit my blog, there’s suddenly an ad right there for the very dress you considered putting in your shopping cart. While I don’t know what will be shown, I do restrict certain products or brands (politics, weight loss, cosmetic surgery, firearms) that I do not wish to support. I also won’t sell adspace to any old company – the longer I blog the more discerning I am with my blog’s real estate and I offer primo space to those companies and brands I like the most.  I promise not to clutter my social media channels or dedicate blog posts to courting sponsors.

Gifted Merchandise/Opportunities. When I started having brands offer to send me free stuff it was so exciting! Sure I’ll take that ugly sweater, go ahead and send me that weird scarf, I’d be happy to try your stinky greasy body lotion, it’s free! The thing is, I would then have to take my time and my blog real estate to review that free item, and it’s not very nice to get a product free and then write a negative review (though long-time readers know I do it from time to time). I now am far more discerning with what merchandise I will accept, and I let them know ahead of time that it will be shared on the blog ONLY if I like it.

Recently a brand I like and wore before they contacted me offered to send me some of their merchandise. I picked out my pieces from a lookbook (AKA teeny little low-res pictures), guessed my size and thanked them. The clothes arrived, they were well-made and cute but they were too small. However, I was able to clearly see the quality and style and the error was on my part, so I incorporated the brand into an advice post instead of looking awful in their very nice clothes.

Sometimes I am gifted an event or opportunity, I always incorporate in the post that they gave it to me. If I don’t mention that a brand was kind enough to send me/let me try/have a membership to something, it’s because I bought it with my own money. Sometimes this may not be clear, so I often write a disclosure stating that my raving is because I am a fan, not because I am paid.

I will note an item of clothing or accessories is gifted with “C/O” which means courtesy of. Even if the piece is three years old, I will still note that it is “C/O.” I have received some comments lately that I wear too much gifted merchandise, but you need to realize I have been blogging for seven years, I choose to feature brands I like, so some of that C/O stuff could be three years old. Also do know for each brand I do choose to feature, there’s three who received a “thanks but no thanks” email. I also find this blog a great platform for lesser-known brands and companies that do good with their product; if it feels I am wearing too much of a certain brand it’s probably because the company as a whole is pretty amazing, has a good message, or supports women who are curvy or plus sized.

Speaking of size… brands often choose to partner with bloggers who are younger or thinner than I even if they have a smaller or less appropriate audience. When a brand contacts me and wants to work with me, a 38 year old soft size 12/14 person, I am impressed. You may have seen that some of my “go to” brands of yesteryear I hardly wear or mention any more, that is because I don’t believe they see us as their desired demographic or my blog as a proper platform. I choose to promote brands that realize that women over 30 and a size 10 love fashion and are willing to open their pocketbooks if a brand will provide and promote quality and style for them.

***

When I see blogs I love start having more gifted merchandise, events that they are hosting, trips, and ads I am happy for them if they are maintain their voice. Some bloggers are in it just for the money, some are in it just for the platform, and some of us are so honored to be able to receive compensation for what we love and would do for free.

I love blogging, I love connecting with all of you. My goal is to be compensated for this work without compromising the content. If you feel I am selling out, if I am putting money before content… send me an email and let me know. There’s no point in this blog if I am turning off those who have been with me since the get-go, or people who could be new readers and friends.

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Spring Style with ECCO (Plus a Giveaway) [Sponsored]

Sometimes brands approach you about a partnership and it’s a perfect fit. I was contacted about doing a sponsored post with ECCO and I was psyched. I’ve featured ECCO shoes before (here and here for example) and think it’s a great brand that marries classic style with comfort. They asked for me to style one of their shoes and one bag here on the blog.

ecco bag 1 ecco bag 2Top | Skirt | Bag: c/o ECCO

Before this partnership, I didn’t know that ECCO made bags. I shouldn’t be surprised that they do, and that they are elegant, classic, and high quality. I received the ECCO Felicity Crossbody in a neutral Saffiano leather. It’s a nice sized bag from nice materials, but it’s hard to properly gauge it because it is not the color or style of bag I would normally choose for myself. It’s a size big enough to carry all your purse essentials yet slim and streamlined. Everything inside stays safe and dry too, thanks to the soft fabric lining water-repellent lining. I decided to style the ECCO Felicity Crossbody with a classic look to highlight its traditional lines. I’m glad for this partnership with ECCO because I found that they make nice bags. My first choice for this campaign was the ECCO Sculptured Clutch, which is made of buttery leather and is the shape and style that will work all seasons of the year and be chic for years to come.

ecco sho9es 1 ecco shoes 2Dress | Necklace (similar) | Hat (similar) | Shoes: c/o ECCO

The ECCO Touch 45 Cross Wedge is a comfortable sandal. I had recently ordered this turquoise dress and saw it next to the shoes and LOVED the color combination. Considering the comfort and versatility of this shoe, I decided to style the ECCO Touch 45 WS for a summery vacation look. I like the look of the ECCO Touch 25 T-Strap which is a wedge sandal of a similar height, but thinner straps that give a more feminine feel that may prove more versatile. Available in four colors and a variety of fabrics, it’s the perfect blend of comfort and style for spring and summer.

The craftsmanship of this bag and these sandals is classic ECCO and a reason why this brand is a favorite of mine. The shoes are comfortable straight out of the box and crafted to offer comfort and style for years. I encourage you to check out the ECCO site and see the other styles they have available. And if you’re a fan of ECCO like me, today’s your lucky day!

What’s your favorite spring shoe trend? Tell me below in the comments for a chance to win an ECCO shoe card worth up to $250!

Giveaway

Entry Instructions: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 4/2/15 – 4/30/15.

Be sure to visit the ECCO brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!

Showing the Love: Karen Kane

karenkane

Karen Kane has a very special place in my bloggy heart. Back in 2011 Karen Kane reached out to me to do a partnership. Back then, I may have done a couple partnerships through BlogHer and a giveaway for store credit to Shopbop and Perricone (remember when those two companies would do giveaways over and over with every blog under the sun? And look at them now!) but I hadn’t made any relationships with brands. I had no idea how to pitch or even that I was supposed to but Karen Kane contacted me, offered to send me some of their clothes and do a giveaway.

I already was familiar with Karen Kane, a brand I was used to seeing in major department stores. I liked the relaxed yet luxe vibe and that the brand was made in the USA. They sent me some pieces and a relationship was born. Since then, I feature Karen Kane on Wardrobe Oxygen because I respect and believe in Karen and her brand. I appreciate their ethics, the way they make versatile wearable clothing in regular and plus sizes, the style factor without pieces being too trendy, and how it’s possible with Karen Kane to look sophisticated and polished while still being comfortable and relaxed.

While it’s my tenth year of Wardrobe Oxygen, it’s Karen Kane’s 35th anniversary and they’re celebrating it with a bang. Becoming a complete lifestyle brand, this spring Karen Kane is adding hats and jewelry to their line! I can’t tell you how excited I am for this addition, I love the Karen Kane aesthetic and what pieces I have already seen I want in my wardrobe ASAP! So far the only accessories available on their site is the gorgeous Coronado Teardrop Cocktail Ring but stay tuned for more additions to their accessories line as well as more new arrivals from their three Spring 2015 collections: Baja (how fab is that jumpsuit?), Nature Study (the zebra dress is calling my name), and Art + Soul (hello colorful fit and flare dress, I need you in my life).

I’ve written before about how Karen Kane is a brand with style and substance, and they proved it again when I reached out and asked if they would be willing to donate a prize to Wardrobe Oxygen readers for a decade of reading and supporting this blog. Karen Kane is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen a $250 shopping credit to enjoy at their site, and international readers you are able to also win this giveaway!

Wardrobe Oxygen + Karen Kane Giveaway

Review and Giveaway – Olay

I’m not afraid to admit the behind-the-scenes actions I take to feel feminine and beautiful on a daily basis. The steps I take to prevent sweat, smell, and yes, unwanted facial hair. Every two weeks I pull out my tube of smelly white cream and slather it over my upper lip. I hate it; it stinks, it often causes redness and breakouts, and usually leaves that part of my face numb for the rest of the day. Not an enjoyable act, but it gets the job done.

So when BlogHer contacted me asking if I would like to try the New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo, I jumped at the chance.

I read that New Olay Smooth Finish Facial Hair Removal Duo is a uniquely formulated two-step system designed to gently, yet effectively remove unwanted facial hair, leaving skin smooth, conditioned, and visibly hair free. This gentle hair removal system contains a Skin Guarding Balm, applied before the removal cream, that hydrates the skin to minimize irritation, redness, and other tell-tale signs associated with hair removal creams. It sounded like perfection!

This weekend I tried it out. The box comes with two products: a tube of the Skin Guarding Balm and a tube of the Hair Removal Cream. The balm is a stick, similar to lip balm; I applied a thin layer to my upper lip and rubbed it in completely. Then I applied the cream for six minutes. After six minutes, I removed the cream with a washcloth.

After those six minutes, I was a New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo convert.

I have used many different drugstore depilatories, and they all were the same cream in different boxes. Olay is the first one to be drastically different. The Skin Guarding Balm really does work; it ensures that the hair remover doesn’t touch and irritate your skin. As for the actual hair removing cream, the scent is hardly noticeable.

New Olay Smooth Finish Hair Removal Duo didn’t cause redness, irritation, breakouts, or numbing of the skin. It just left smooth, happy, hairless skin. As a busy working mom I find this awesome; now I don’t have to block out time on the weekend so I can heal in the privacy of my home, I can do it in the morning while getting ready for work. Gentle on my skin and it simplifies my beauty routine? Who could ask for more?  How about getting this product for free? Today is your lucky day, BlogHer and Olay are offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift card!

How to Enter:

To be entered for a chance to win, please leave me a comment explaining how you express your inner beauty through your beauty routine!
Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You can enter to win up to two (2) times, using any combination of the following methods:
  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  • For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

The sweepstakes runs from 1/3/2012 – 2/3/2012. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here.  Also be sure to visit the Promotions & Prizes page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win! Good luck!

While we’re on the subject of looking good, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great tips and expert posts!

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Review and Giveaway: COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara

I remember my mom allowing me to start wearing makeup in 7th grade. Not a lot, a bit of gray liner, some soft, pink lipstick, and mascara. I loved how this little bit of makeup could completely change my look — distract one from what I thought to be a large nose, make my lips look fuller, and give me long lashes like my younger sister. As I got older, I got more creative with my makeup — a strong lip would make me transform me into Rita Hayworth, a smoky eye turned me into a sex kitten, dewy skin and I felt years younger.

When I worked as a personal shopper, I won a makeover at our company convention. They cut off a good 10” of my hair, which was life-changing. But more life-changing was the makeup application — the artist used brushes in shapes I had never seen before, put shimmery, lemon shadow on my eyes, and even mixed shadow with gloss for my lip color. I was so inspired to get even more out of the box, treating my face like a canvas and the makeup as my paint. I was shocked by the final product of the makeover, but so inspired that I purchased a set of new cosmetic brushes that very weekend.

My sister putting the final touches on my makeup before going down the aisle

When planning my wedding, deciding on my makeup was just as important as deciding on my dress. I knew that makeup would complete the entire look, make me feel confident, feminine, and beautiful on my Big Day. I wore liquid liner and lots of mascara to perfectly complement my silk shantung gown and fingertip veil and loved the whole effect.

For me, makeup choices are just as important as my shoe choices or what necklace I paired with an outfit — makeup is the ultimate accessory. With makeup I feel more polished, I feel my look is complete.

If you are a regular reader of Wardrobe Oxygen, you know my favorite type of makeup is mascara. I feel naked without it! So when I got the opportunity to try the new COVERGIRL LashPerfection™ Mascara, I was so excited!

Usually, I am a “the more the better” sort of gal when it comes to lashes. I want them thick, I want them long, I want them full. I want to look as though I am wearing false lashes. However, this past summer I had been wishing for a more natural look that would go with cotton sundresses, sandals, and shorts. I was achieving that by wiping my mascara wand prior to application, but I wasn’t always thrilled with the results. It’s as though COVERGIRL was reading my mind when they created COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara!

I received a tube of black, which is the only color I wear for mascara. The brush is very stiff, almost feels like a comb instead of a brush. The bristles are spaced nicely to wiggle between each lash. After curling my lashes, I applied one coat and was impressed with the results — my lashes were darkened and looked miles long. That being said, they looked completely natural, as though I was born with gorgeous long lashes (just like my sister)!

My lashes with COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara

I applied a second coat, and then a third and was pleased with how well it layered — it didn’t give me spider lashes, just darker and thicker. I even wore this mascara to an outdoor concert, and the mascara held up through the humidity and heat and never irritated my contacts-wearing eyes. COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara is a fantastic day mascara, giving long, lovely lashes without clumps. With a few more layers, it would also be smashing for after-hours events.

Well here’s your chance to try this mascara out! BlogHer is offering one Wardrobe Oxygen reader a $50 gift certificate to Drugstore.com (one of my favorite online stores). Plenty of moolah to try out COVERGIRL LashPerfection Mascara or any personal care product that Drugstore.com carries!

How to Enter:
Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available hereEnter between October 4th and November 4th, 2011. Also be sure to check out the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes Page!

While we’re on the subject of make-up and looking great, you might want to check out the “Looking Your Best” posts in the Life Well Lived section of BlogHer.com. There are some great application tips and ideas for switching up your look for fall!

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#SavedBySkimmies: Jockey® Skimmies® Slipshort Review and Giveaway

A couple weekends ago, I attended an outdoor wedding. Our friends’ Big Day was hot – extremely hot, and extremely humid. There was also a chance of rain. Not only was I an invited guest, but Karl was the hired photographer and I was to assist him in organizing guests for posed photos. Emerson was also invited, so I would also be chasing after her. I knew I had to dress in a way that would keep me comfortable, mobile, yet festive. I chose a floral print silk maxi dress and flat sandals but knew my underpinnings would be just as crucial. The Friction Affliction, we’ve all been there. That bow-legged stride that aims to keep a dreaded thigh fire from ruining your day. Heat and humidity, sweat and running around plus curvy girl chub rub can quickly make a gal miserable. There was no way I was going to experience Friction Affliction at this wedding. And the Shake Down. You know when you wear a silk dress and it rubbing against your undergarments causes static cling? I had no time for the one part wiggle, two parts tug dance on this day. Thank goodness for Jockey Skimmies®. I’ve written about them before, I think they’re pretty darn fantastic and they literally saved my skin all last summer. So when Jockey reached out and asked if I’d like to try another pair this year and share how I was #SavedBySkimmies it wasn’t hard to say yes. And for this wedding, I wore my new Jockey Skimmies Slipshorts.

PicMonkey Collage

Some Instagram photos of the wedding: the hazy humid ceremony, me dancing between the ceremony and reception, with my sweaty daughter during the ceremony, my daughter and I taking a silly and very sweaty and rain-soaked selfie after the reception

No Friction Affliction, my thighs were happy campers all day and night, through humidity that felt like pea soup, sweat that rolled down my back and legs for hours, a torrential downpour I got caught in on two separate occasions, and all the dashes I did to help Karl, tend to Emerson, and enjoy the event. As for The Shake Down? The only shaking I did that day was my booty as I danced to live music from afternoon until dark. Jockey Skimmies aren’t control garments so there’s no muffin top, no gas pains from being squished for hours, no tell-tale thigh dents, and the shorts don’t roll or sag or ride. Honestly, with the combination of the dress and my Jockey Skimmies I didn’t have to think about what I was wearing all day. And honestly, if I didn’t receive these Skimmies from Jockey the week before the wedding, I would have worn another pair of them because I know they’re the best to wear for such a situation. Learn more about Jockey Skimmies by visiting jockey.com/savedbyskimmies or visit Jockey on Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Do Jockey Skimmies® sound awesome to you? Are you ready to be #SavedBySkimmies this summer? One Wardrobe Oxygen reader is going to be Saved by Skimmies thanks to Jockey!

Giveaway

How would you like to be Saved By Skimmies? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Jockey.com gift card.

Entry Instructions: 

No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 6/10/2015 – 7/31/2015

Be sure to visit Jockey’s brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Book Review and Giveaway: Ladies’ Night

It’s hard to explain to a non-blogger what it is like when you choose blogging as a profession. An outsider doesn’t understand why you spend every waking moment with a camera or SmartPhone, and how something as minor as a title of a post can make or break your monthly income. So to read a book where the protagonist is a successful Lifestyle Blogger is quite a treat.

Recently BlogHer gave me the opportunity to check out Mary Kay Andrews’ latest book, Ladies’ Night. The book is about Grace, a Lifestyle Blogger who is going through a divorce and a major life change. When Grace decided to react to her husband’s infidelity by driving his car into their backyard swimming pool, she was forced to attend weekly counseling sessions with fellow women (and one man) going through divorce. The group became friends, and through it had a weekly Ladies’ Night, hence the name of the book.

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I really enjoyed Ladies’ Night – it was an engaging and fun read. I looked forward to reading it each evening after a long day at work and putting Emerson to bed; it was my mini escape. It was fun to find that Andrews didn’t just write this book, but has a whole site dedicated to it with reading group discussion questions and recipes for food inspired by or mentioned in the novel. I must say while reading the book I was craving some crab corn bisque and was excited to find the recipe on the site!

Having this book from a blogger’s point of view was interesting; you saw into how a blogger makes money and has to do a lot of business deals and networking to stay relevant and profitable. But more than that, the book showed how strangers can quickly become best friends, and the power of a group of girlfriends and the occasional Girls’ Night.

Since having Emerson, my Ladies’ Nights are less frequent, but more necessary. Having that time with people you love and trust and to be able to have a couple of cocktails, dance, and gab about unimportant topics is so healthy and recharges me for work and family life. Each summer, a few of my girlfriends and I head to the beach for a weekend. We lay out, read trashy magazines, go out to dinner, hit a few bars. We drink, we dance, we laugh, we eat Buffalo wings at 3am. We let go of the drama and stress at home for those couple of days and come back better friends and better people.

Giveaway
This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been notified.  Thanks for entering!

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Review and Giveaway: Dove® VisibleCare™

The older I get, the dryer my skin becomes. I am always searching for a product that will keep my skin feeling hydrated and looking soft and supple. I have used Dove® body washes with NutriumMoisture™ and am impressed by how they keep my skin looking soft and dewy all day long.

Well Dove® has come out with Toning Crème Body Wash, a body cleanser designed to help promote skin’s elasticity and strength. Built on the brand’s heritage in cleansing and caring for skin, Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning combines the best of Dove® technology into a luxurious experience for beauty seekers. With the highest concentration of NutriumMoisture™ of all their products, Dove VisibleCare Toning actually improves the look of your skin. The body washes are available in three variants each of which cue different skin care needs, thanks to BlogHer I was able to try out Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash.

Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash is designed to promote skin’s elasticity and strength, which is important to me as I get older and see the lack of elasticity in my skin. While it contains a mild cleanser, this body wash also includes glycerin, stearic acid and Vitamin E to heal and hydrate the skin. The scent is a blend of ylangylang, wood, mandarin and bergamot which I honestly found a bit overpowering. Some like their body products to be fragrant, I prefer a more subtle scent so it doesn’t compete with my perfume. I love the rich lather, and that the product rinses clean, leaving my skin feeling fresh but still soft and supple. And VisibleCare™ is the proper name for this product – after one use I saw my skin looking softer, plumper, and all over happier (which does make it look younger and firmer). On days where I was in a rush and forgot body lotion, my skin still felt and looked soft and hydrated thanks to Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash.

Dove® has three versions of their new VisibleCare™ Body Washes:

  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Toning Crème Body Wash – the one I tried, which promotes skin’s elasticity and strength
  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Renewing Crème Body Wash – this wash nourishes and replenishes skin
  • Dove® VisibleCare™ Softening Crème Body Wash – this formula softens skin and gets rid of dry spots

This new line of body washes from Dove® helps you be proud to show off your skin this summer! Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

This giveaway is now closed, thanks to all who entered!

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Life Well Lived – Skincare Streamlined

Recently BlogHer asked a few of us bloggers about our skincare routines how to we care for our skin if we don’t have any “me time”? Working full time, chasing after a toddler, blogging and maintaining relationships with friends and family means my “me time” is few and far between, but I try not to let it affect my skincare routine.

After having Emerson I was looking for ways to get my skin back to normal. Pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding creates all sorts of hormonal imbalances and my skin was looking dull and I was getting breakouts around the jaw line and under my nose. I found that what worked better than any cream or serum is water. I now have a Camelbak reusable bottle on my nightstand, one on my desk at the office, and one in my living room. When at work, I force myself to drink at least two refills of the 32 oz. bottle; at home I consume at least one refill before bed and another before I head off to work. Staying so hydrated, my skin is getting back its glow, cleared up my adult acne, and even plumped up my skin to hide fine lines. On top of that, staying well-hydrated has also helped me lose the baby weight!

I loved reading all the other responses to this question – lots of great tips on how to streamline my beauty routine. If you too would like to learn other bloggers’ tips for keeping skin looking and feeling great with little “me time,” I encourage you to check out this post. I’d also love to hear from you – what are your best tips and tricks to care for your skin when you’re low on “me time”? I always learn so much from your comments, and would love to hear how you handle your beauty routine when you’re in a rush!

I also encourage you to enter the Life Well Lived Moments Sweepstakes – share your Life Well Lived Moment and you may win $250!

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