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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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Tuesday

Orange merino scoopneck from Marshall’s, tan tweedy trousers from Ann Taylor, black booties from Sudini, white gold and diamond solitaire necklace and studs from Diamond Nexus Labs, silver cuff.

Hair was washed and conditioned night before and dried while sleeping. This morning hit the bedhead with the curling iron and then some Jonathan Silky Dirt to set.

Makeup is philosophy’s The Present, L’Oreal true Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – the ivory over the lid, CoverGirl LashBlast in black on curled lashes, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line, Revlon ColorStay lip color in Real Raisin.

Tuesday

Black and ivory blouse from Banana Republic, black and ivory “gypsy” skirt from Marshall’s, black croco belt with pave buckle from Express, white lace trimmed Bobby socks from Target, black patent leather Mary Janes from Nine West, black and metal earrings from a boutique at Rehoboth Beach, silver necklaces from H&M, silver cuff, black lace gloves from hot Topic, purple glasses from Gucci.

Hair was washed and conditioned, Sexy Straight Hair’s Shine On! and pureology’s amplifier added while wet and blwon dry with a paddle brush. A bit of backcombing for lift.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Body Shop eyecolor in beige, CoverGirl LashBlast mascara in black, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line and on lips is Revlon ColorStay Lip Color in Red Velvet.

Today is a big day at work – we have a lunch for a new coworker and to finally celebrate my joining the company, and this afternoon we have a cocktail reception to welcome the new Director for our entire office. I wanted to ensure I gave the very best impression, I think the lace of my gloves matching the lace of my socks will really do it!

Monday

Black merino shift from Banana Republic, black tights from Target, black heeled oxfords from BCBGirls, silver cuff and hoops.

Hair was washed and conditioned, a bit of Jonathan Silky Dirt added by twirling around wet sections. hair scrunched and allowed to air dry about 60%. Then dried with diffuser.

Makeup is philosophy The Present primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, a very small amount of philosophy The Supernatural in Beige around eyes and nose, Nars blush in Orgasm, Sephora chubby eye pencil in gray, Body Shop eye color in Slate on lid and Soft Black in crease, lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black and one of Imju Fiberwig. On lips is Sephora lip gloss in Think Pink.

The weekend was pretty uneventful. Sunday we went for a hike and then had a friend over to make a fire in the chimenea, drink a few beers while enjoying the day and watched a movie. today is another gorgeous day and a good one to come in late (I had a dentist appointment) and take a slow walk to the office, and go out for lunch!

Monday

It is going to be around 80 degrees today! I went to work without a coat! I LOVE this weather, I just hate that it will get cold again tomorrow.

Red crepe jersey dress from Maggy London, black tights from Target, black patent Mary Janes with red heels from Nine West.

Hair was washed with my husband’s cheap 2-in-1 because I am getting my hair colored tonight and want to save the pureology for when it’s finished. No product, dried with the Croc straightening wet-to-dry iron.

Makeup is Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone and khaki on lid. Lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black and a medium line of Maybelline UltraLiner in black. On lips is Revlon ColorStay lip color in Real Raisin.

Monday

Look familiar? Yeah, I pretty much took off last night’s outfit, folded it on my bureau and put it back on today. It didn’t get dirty and well… I didn’t do all my laundry this weekend!

Hair was washed, a small amount of Jonathan Silky Dirt and blown straight with a paddle brush.

Makeup is Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, Afterglow Mineral foundation in Bisque, their Organic Glow bronzer in Medium and Natural Lip Gloss in Bellla, CoverGirl Lash Blast in Black with Imju Fiberwig over it, bit of Body Shop Eye Definer in black.

I cannot rave enough about the Jonathan Product Shower Filter; my hair is so smooth and shiny and happy! I just sit and pet my hair while at work. Funny thing is, if I use my old amount of product, my hair gets really greasy and gummy. Saturday night I tried to get more volume with the Root Lift, but it just made it heavy and Sunday it was gross to touch. Before the filter, I wouldn’t have had that sort of issue.

Thursday

Today I knew it was going to snow and possibly be icy; also had to get to work early because a platform I use for my job was being wacko last night and I couldn’t get my tasks completed before leaving work. And… my feet hurt from yesterday and wanted something comfy.

Burgundy merino shift from Banana Republic (this is a week of red), black thermal top from Old Navy, black heavy tights from Target, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, silver cuff.

Hair was washed and conditioned the night before and a bit of curling mousse from Got2B was added. This morning, took large sections around the curling iron and used the iron to straighten bangs. Finger comb.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners and along brow bone, khaki on lid, chocolate in crease and along lash lines. Lashes curled and applied CoverGirl LashBlast in black. On lips is Nars lipcolor in Dolce Vita.

Wednesday

Yet another warm day in DC. Didn’t even wear a coat, just brought along my pashmina for the commute.

Green and ivory print silk shirtdress from Banana Republic, brown suede slouchy boots from Silhouettes, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren, gold hoops and necklace.

Hair is second day, a few pieces twirled around a curling iron and then finger-combed. a touch of Jonathan Silky Dirt to set.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit That Gal on cheekbones, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon colorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners, olive on lid and along lash lines. Lashes curled, two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black, small amount of black pencil (Body Shop) along lower lash line; lips is Revlon Shiny Sheers in Sheer Cocoa Glaze.

Thursday

Brown merino 3/4 sleeve v-neck sweater from Gap, gray tab-front trousers from Limited (quick story, haven’t worn these pants since my last job that I left 2 years ago. they fit again!). Brown peep toe pumps with wood heel from Maripe, thin gold hoops from Diva, gold chain from Express, looped once.

Hair washed, not conditioned because I realzied I hadn’t when I was already dried off. I added some of the Sexy Straight Hair gloss mixed with Nexxus Designing Texxtur (small amount of both) and then blew straight.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3, concealer in W4-5, Body Shop bronzer in light, Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral, CoverGirl Lash Exact mascara in black, and on lips is some L’Oreal anti-feathering stuff I have used before in a plum shade. Will report back later on the exact name for I left it at home.

This Weekend

Saturday began with yoga, as usual. After stopped by the local cafe for lunch with my mom.

Jade green scoop tee from Gap, black exercise pants from ProSpirit, white socks, black “Chucks.”

Hair was second day, just brushed.

Makeup is Afterglow Mineral foundation in Bisque, their Organic Glow bronzer in Medium and Natural Lip Gloss in Bellla (product review this week).

That evening was my company’s post-holiday party. It was at an historic DC restaurant and was a lovely time.

Black wool blend sheath from Banana Republic/eBay, leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, long gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren, gold hoops.

Hair was washed and conditioned, pureology Root Lift and a bit of Jonathan Silky Dirt while damp, blown straight and some more Jonathan Silky Dirt on dry hair for shine and separation.

Makeup is Smashbox Photo Finish primer, L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3 as concealer, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Body Shop eyecolor in Slate over lid, soft black in crease and along lash lines, Body Shop Eye Definer in black along both lash lines, lashes curled and Cover Girl Lash Blast in black applied with two coats of Imju Fiberwig over it. Lips is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Glossy Rose.

Sunday I got a lot of chores at home completed, and then headed to Annapolis to our friends’ house for a Superbowl party.

Black thermal long-sleeved top from Old Navy, black merino shift from Banana Republic, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, black coral necklace from Mexico, silver hoops.

Hair is second day, brushed and the bangs smoothed with the dryer and a round brush.

Makeup is philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Afterglow Cosmetics Natural Lipgloss in Bella, Maybelline UltraLiner in black on top lash line, CoverGirl Lash Blast in Black with a coat of Imju Fiberwig over it.

The Weekend

Friday night we went to dinner with very good friends of ours. Had a wait for our table, so we went next door to the cigar shop; the boys got some cigars to puff (it was nice enough to be outside) and the wife and I chatted about the upcoming wedding of her sister-in-law (you can’t pull me away from wedding talk!). The place was really lovely – a new joint we hadn’t yet visited. After we hung out at Starbucks until they had to get home and relieve the babysitter. Ah, the wild and crazy life of adults!

Saturday started with yoga as usual, then a few errands. In the afternoon my husband’s cousin came over for a game of Rockband and then we three headed to DC to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at the 9:30 Club. There we met up with our good friends and had a great time. I only knew their music vaguely… but after that performance I am a FAN!

Hair was washed and conditioned in a rush and to the sounds of Rockband. Added a touch of Jonathan Silky Dirt while damp, blew it straight with a paddle brush and a round brush for the bangs and ends.

Dressed in a rush as well; black thermal top from Old Navy, burgundy merino shift from Banana Republic, tan “Bern” boots from Duo, silver hoops and cuff.

Makeup was Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Revlon ColorStay under eye concealer in Light Medium, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Cargo Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory in inner corners, khaki on lid, chocolate in crease and along lash lines. Lashes curled and two coats of CoverGirl Lash Blast in black. On lips is Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Glossy Rose.

Sunday, we did a whole lot of nothing, and it was great! We watched a few episodes from Season 3 Lost that my husband missed, a Netflix movie (Curse of the Golden Flower), took a nap, cleaned a bit, had Chinese for take-out… very relaxing and lovely. No photo outfits because seeing me in a black tank and pink-leopard-print flannel PJ pants ain’t so exciting…

Ask Allie: Office Beauty

I am about to start my first internship in D.C. this fall and can’t wait. I was wondering if you have any recommendations for subtle office-appropriate lipstick? Preferably something by Revlon or an inexpensive brand. I love wearing red lipstick but don’t want to look too crazy in the office. Thank you!

Red lipstick doesn’t necessarily look crazy if you do it right. I love Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters for they provide sheer color that you can layer for strong pigment – one swipe of Cherry Tart is cheery without stopping traffic; add a few more layers for drinks after work. I also like matte reds for the office – they may have the pop of color but don’t have the added shine to really call attention to your face – Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains are a great budget-friendly option that can let you wear color without the color wearing you.

For at least the first week though, I would steer clear of a bold lip. Get a feel for your office culture. Choosing a brownish pink is a wise choice – something similar to your natural lip color yet a bit darker or more intense. A shade that has mauve, dusty, or natural in it is a good choice. CoverGirl Continuous Lipcolor is a great budget-friendly lipstick that will last through your morning cup of coffee without drying out your lips; Iced Mauve and It’s Your Mauve are great choices for women with fair to medium complexions that are neutral to cool in tone.

Finally, I am a big fan of Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balms and now own four different colors. Rose is a sheer red that is playful yet office-appropriate, Red Dahlia is more of a sheer wine, Hibiscus is a sheer candy pink, Tiger Lily is a warm neutral that looks fantastic with a hint of a tan.

You often wear very bold makeup at work. I can’t imagine smokey eye or magenta lips in my office yet you do it and from what I assume you have a managerial position at your company. Is such makeup now acceptable in the workplace?

Each office environment is different. I work in a very relaxed environment where people are free to show their personal style as long as it is within the dress code guidelines. I also work in a position where I don’t meet with clients every day and only interact with my teammates.

Before you decide whether to wear a smoky eye or bold lip in your office, take a look around. Are there any colleagues who wear bold fashion? How are they perceived by upper management? Do they get the respect they deserve?

While I may wear a smoky eye once in a while and this winter did rock quite a few bright lipstick colors, I keep most of my “fun” makeup for after hours. No sparkle or shimmer, no intense or bold eye colors, no false lashes, nothing overly trendy. While my workplace may not blink at hot pink lip gloss, a peer company with a similar clientele may freak out over navy eyeliner. Respect your office, your position with the company and the position you desire to have in the future before going bold with your office beauty.

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Blogging Love – Interview!

I was honored to be interviewed by Elle of the new blog Label Ho. Elle’s discusses fashion and her personal style on this site. I love supporting fellow fashion and style bloggers so I jumped at this chance to have us get to know one another better!

You can check out the interview here.

I loved the questions she asked (and if you go back in her archives, you can see her answers to the very same questions!). The name of her blog cracks me up. It reminds me of when I was Editor of my high school yearbook. I had such the fight with the sponsor over the proper spelling of this word. “If you add an ‘e’ it’s suddenly a garden tool!” (Let’s not even get into why this word was in my yearbook – let me just state that my high school was a fabulous one where I learned Japanese and was in International Baccalaureate courses, but it wasn’t in the most chi chi of neighborhoods.)

Since she interviewed me, I decided to ask her a few questions as well. Get to know Elle!

Name: “Elle,” author of Label Ho, a fashion and personal style blog

Why did you start blogging? What could be better than writing and posting about something you love? I thought it would be a fun hobby and a great way to connect with other fashion-minded people.

Favorite item in your closet: An authentic vintage Gucci handbag circa the 70s. I love that its suede and doesn’t have the GG logo plastered all over it. I found the bag at a thrift shop and its in immaculate condition. Best of all, I got it for an excellent price!

Favorite Web site to visit: FabSugar.com. They have pretty comprehensive coverage of what’s going on in the fashion world, delivered in quick, short posts. I also like that they post great outfits that members of their community put together. I’m fascinated with seeing what people put together.

Top five items on your style wish list for this season: I can only think of three since I think I pretty much have most of my key pieces already:

1. Another pair of dark bootleg jeans. I’ve pretty much worn my favorite pair so much (Joe’s Jeans in the Honey fit) that the color’s faded significantly.

2. More dresses. I’ve purchased a few already, but I just can’t get enough. They’re so easy to pull on in summer.

3. A pair of wide-leg jeans. I’ve tried on a ton of different ones, but still haven’t found a flattering fit.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?


Fit
If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.


Style
Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.


If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.


Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.


If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.


Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.


Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.


At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.


In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

One-armed Beauty: Hair and Makeup When Wearing a Cast

I must say, navigating life without my dominant arm has been an adventure! They say that mastering your non-dominant hand benefits your brain. It’s fun when I notice my left hand and arm getting stronger (carrying a stack of plates from the dining table), more flexible (I can now scrub, shave and deodorize my left pit, yeah baby!), and more skilled (change the sheets on Em’s bed and empty the dishwasher without breaking anything). And I’m learning ways to accomplish everyday tasks we take for granted.

Like makeup. And hair. And bathing.

Doing my face and making my hair not look like a rat’s nest is nice when a neighbor stops by unexpectedly to check on me, but it also does a lot of good for my morale and outlook on the day. Learning how to work with my non-dominant hand is like learning from scratch. I thought my tips may help to those who are beauty novices as well as those who may be learning how to work with a non-dominant hand.

Hair
Once I got off the painkillers and felt good enough to leave the house for a bit, I made a hair appointment. I asked for lowlights instead of a single process to add depth to my wavy hair and cover gray without visible roots. I told her how I can spray product on my head, but lotions, creams, and hair dryers aren’t happening for a long while. She cut it to let the bangs grow out gracefully and cut long layers that would wave and curl in a beachy way when washed and air dried.

I ordered one of those waterproof cast covers that looks like a giant blue condom, but the largest size was so tight on my upper arm that it worked like a tourniquet making my fingers tingle in just a minute. So I am resigned to baths with my well-wrapped arm sticking out of the tub. I squeeze shampoo directly onto my scalp and scrub it in, and then I slide down to rinse out as much as possible, Karl making sure I don’t slip or miss washing out any product. Conditioner, I squeeze onto the edge of the tub, then scoop it into my hair so I can bypass the scalp and focus on the ends.

When I get out, I put a towel on the bed and bend my head onto it and blot dry.  To keep my hair more on the ringlet size and less on the Kip Winger side, I invested in a DevaCurl towel.  It’s small enough to use one-handed; I scrunch blot, apply product, then sometimes scrunch blot again if any spot is too drenched.  The biggest issue is my bangs; they sometimes curl nicely into my hair, but more often than not they part in the middle and curl up like horns.  So I sometimes have Karl point the hairdryer at my roots and I brush my bangs back and forth in a window washer style with a paddle brush (thanks Ted Gibson for the bangs tip!), or use a curling iron and carefully curl them into my hair (random grabs actually work for the bangs, looks more natural).

As for styling products, I have a shelf of spray-bottle products now.  Liking Nick Chavez Amazon Infinity Mist for waves, TIGI Bed Head Foxy Curls for ringlets, and once dry, TIGI Bed Head spray shine.  For second day, I’ll use Batiste dry shampoo in deep brown which gives body, reduces shine, blends without a ton of rubbing, and provides some control to keep bangs merged with the rest of my hair.

Makeup
I’ve put my tube of Miracle Skin Transformer in my medicine cabinet so it’s easy to have a minimum of nice skin each day. It has replaced my traditional moisturizer, going over treatment and serum. I know it may be contaminating the tube, but I squeeze the product directly on my face then blend with my fingers.

If I know I am going somewhere or wake energized, I put on actual foundation and concealer. My foundation (Revlon ColorStay Whipped) is in a jar, so it’s easier to apply. When I started, I would dip my Beauty Blender right in the jar and blend onto the skin. Now I feel confident applying with fingers then using the Beauty Blender to blend around the nose and jawline. Concealer goes over the foundation, using Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, which is dry enough to not be a smeary mess. I pat it into places with my finger, then go back and blend so it has time to dry a bit. This helps because I don’t have as light or precise of a touch and letting it dry a bit keeps me from rubbing it all off.

Next is brows; I’ve found the easiest and most natural is tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse which is sort of a cream, sort of a wax and comes with its own brush.  Not nearly as precise as I like but at least my brows are filled in.  Better to be too gentle than too hard of a hand; if need be I can go back and tap the brush where there’s pale spots.

Blush is my best friend these days, it really makes me look finished and healthy. I’ve returned to an old favorite, NARS Orgasm, which gives me a healthy glow and doesn’t make me look like a clown if I am too heavy handed. With less other makeup the shimmer in this blush looks more glowy than disco. I switched to my bareMinerals Flawless Application Face Brush, which is fluffier with longer bristles than my blush brush.  A traditional blush or powder brush made obvious streaks if I had too heavy of a hand; this brush gives more of a wash of color.

For eyes, I was curling my lashes until I had quite the mishap.  Now I’m just using CoverGirl Clump Crusher Mascara which has a tube that can stand up on its own and doesn’t bend when I open it with my teeth (hello metal capped mascara). The formula is water resistant and a bit dry, so I don’t end up with raccoon eyes from shaky application or tears. I sometimes apply shadow, but just one of the nudes from my Urban Decay Naked Basics 1 palette, also applied with a fluffy brush so there’s no strong lines. As I have gotten more skilled with my left hand, I sometimes add a brown shadow in the crease for dimension.  I’ve always felt confident with liquid liner, and when I’m feeling really good I’ll do a thin line with Maybelline Line Stiletto right along the lash line, from middle of lid to outer corner; otherwise I put a dampened slant brush in black or black-brown shadow and tap along the lash line which hides the missing lashes.

As for lips, my daily go-to is Revlon Balm Stain; my two faves are Romantic and Adore.  When I go out I sometimes wear Revlon Matte lipstick in Really Red which stays nicely, is elegant, and with my glasses makes me look finished.

Finishing touch is e.l.f. Studio Makeup Mist & Set which helps everything stay in place without looking dry. Not too done, and more refined than a bare face!

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Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

Little Bits of Luxury: The Series

With age comes wisdom. It’s taken a while, but I have learned to truly buy quality instead of quantity. I unsubscribed from most retail emails so I am not wooed by 50% off (if I didn’t need it at full price, I don’t need it now), I rarely enter a mall because I know myself and I will leave at least $100 poorer with bags full of things I don’t need and will likely collect dust. When I visit a store like Target or TJ Maxx I have a written shopping list that will be a visible reminder to stay on track. And in the past year, when I have added to my closet I have looked for what I can remove – to store for the future, to donate, to sell, to admit defeat and cut up into rags.

And the things I purchase are better quality too. Now I am no Martha Stewart, so for me quality is likely Nine West, Etsy, L’Oreal. But I have learned it’s not about the name on the label, but how the piece works with my life and performs in the long run. Be it bras, BB cream, baking dishes, or boots I research, save, and buy the best within my budget. This also goes for luxury items (and items that are luxurious just to me). I have never admitted being a minimalist, and with age I have learned that some luxury items just make life better (and are far kinder to the body than cupcakes and nachos). I’ve also learned that luxury can come at all pricepoints, and some of the best indulgences are quite kind to my wallet.

I’ve found that series on this blog are some of my most popular posts on Wardrobe Oxygen. And so my newest series will feature little luxuries I indulge in, and how I budget for them, and why they are worth it. I hope you enjoy!





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What I Wore: Real Red

Dress: Belle c/o Dobbin Clothing | Bag: “Erin” Satchel c/o Fossil | Tights: Nordstrom | Boots: Ros Hommerson  | Bracelets: had forever, Nordstrom (similar) | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Coat: Via Spiga

Fossil was kind enough to send me this bag and I immediately fell in love with the color. It’s not cherry, it’s not tomato, it’s not ruby or oxblood or any other fancy terms. It’s as clear and true of a red as a crayon. I checked the bag’s label and it’s called Real Red. I like that, no crazy made-up name, just what is exactly is. This bag is pretty phenomenal, and perfect for a commuter like me. Two side zipper pockets to hold things like farecards and lip balm, and inside there is a zipper pocket on one side, and the other side five different pockets to hold anything from a Smartphone or your keys to business cards and a pack of gum. And in this bag I have my wallet, Kindle (did you enter my Kindle giveaway?), makeup bag, myAgenda, sunglasses, gloves, journal, and two reusable containers to hold my lunch. Impressive! The crossbody strap is adjustable to become a shoulderbag, or it can be removed. I know this bag is going to be used quite a lot this season!

I never understand why street style models and bloggers wear their coats on their shoulders like a cape.  How can they move their arms?  Why not just put on the coat?  Then I realized on cold days I do this very thing – I wear the coat like a cape from the house and over my shoulders until Karl gets ready to take pictures.  This way my outfit doesn’t get as rumpled and I’m less likely to mess up my hair.  Karl got this picture of me in the coat at the beginning of the shoot and it showcases the coat I bought last winter on a whim and still adore a year later (and it’s still available at Nordstrom and now on sale!).

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What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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My Wardrobe Today – Monday

Tee - LOFT
Skirt – Ann Taylor (bought on eBay 5 years ago for $14.99, no clue how old, label style unfamiliar to me)
TightsNordstrom
BootiesCole Haan
Scarf – c/o Nordstrom Rack
BagSabina
Silver cuff

I forgot to set my alarm last night. My body woke me up at 7:15 (glad it wasn’t 8:15) and I had 45 minutes to get myself together and out the door. I had pulled this skirt out of my stash of potential winter things and a month ago it was just too tight, too short, and I thought I would re-eBay it. I pulled it on this morning since it was sitting on the cedar chest at the foot of the bed… and it fit! Only thing wrong is I guess the hem dry rotted and has fallen out while wearing (easy to fix). Very excited to have another leather skirt in my arsenal!

New bag – I had $40 in Nordstrom rewards, saw this bag for $129 and decided to try it.  I have wanted a bigger bag to carry my netbook and such, and wanted a soft black purse (currently have my Banana Republic one which is that textured hard leather like a football). Love the bag, so soft, holds so much, necessary front pocket (with magnet closure) and hey… gotta love such a quality bag for only $89!

Sorry for the delay in posting, work has gotten really hectic. Glad I stocked the office fridge with Lean Cuisines because that’s the only way I get to eat anything. The only time I have left my desk is to hit the printer or the bathroom (and refill my water bottle!). Whew, what a crazy couple of weeks!

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