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An Ode to Revlon ColorStay Foundation

All the magazines say summer is the time to lighten your makeup. Switch from concealer and foundation to a tinted moisturizer or BB Cream. I say… who are these people who come June have shrunken pores, their zits disappear, and have invisible redness and dark circles? it’s 2014 and any smart woman knows that tanning is terrible; come summer my skin is the same, only sweatier. I still want to cover and even my skintone, I just want it to stay put through summer’s heat and humidity.

Best Summer Foundation Revlon ColorStay

And so today is an ode to Revlon’s ColorStay Foundation. I know, I know I’ve already raved about this product here and here, but it’s worthy of a THIRD post. I used the whipped version almost all winter, but as soon as Memorial Day arrived I switched from the jar for dry skin to the bottle for oily/combo skin. And I haven’t looked back.

Most days, I put on my SPF moisturizer, let it soak in, then put on the foundation, set it with E.L.F. spray and go. Some cream blush (this one is still my jam), some waterproof mascara, and lipcolor. The foundation doesn’t cover my freckles, but it’s heavy enough to cover the scar from the zit I had most of May, the redness under my nostrils, and the giant dark bags under my eyes thanks to allergies and my cast being the size of a third person in our bed (but not snuggly enough to spoon).  Don’t slather it on; a fine layer (I use my fingers to apply though it also goes on great with a brush) gives plenty of coverage and doesn’t feel heavy.

When I want to look more polished, I’ll apply Dr. Brandt’s Pores no More, the foundation, pat some Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage under the nose and eyes, and finish with the E.L.F. spray or a dusting of NARS powder if I’ll be inside most of the time. No need for concealer anywhere else, Revlon blurs enough for me to look pretty darn fabulous. The other day, I got to work at 7 and had an event after work; I was able to be evening ready with a light mist of Avene, remove under eye smudges with a Neutrogena wipe, do a couple pats of Laura Mercier, and another dusting of NARS. Last summer I had to wash and reapply my face to look human after 5pm.

One thing to note: this is a long-wearing foundation and doesn’t come off completely with wipes or a quick face washing. In the summer I wash my face twice (with CeraVe); once with my fingers, and a second time with my Clarisonic. This really removes all the makeup, the sweat, the grodiness of the city but doesn’t dry me out.

The older I get, the harder it is to look healthy and refreshed with a bare face. I care for my skin, but life still makes its mark. It’s nice to have a budget-friendly product not make me look caked on and too made up, but look the way I feel. To have it last all day even in Washington DC humidity? Mega bonus!

Best of 2014: Beauty Edition

I tried a lot of different beauty products this year. Working a good portion of 2014 with one hand (and it being my non-dominant one), it forced me to switch up my beauty routine. I also had a decision to stop trying to look young. While I still baby my skin and use products to prevent wrinkles and discoloration, I allowed myself to enjoy makeup trends that may not be the most youthful. I’m not ashamed of my age, and don’t want to miss out on fun trends and techniques that better fit my personal style because I’m trying to look younger than my driver’s license. Speaking of age, maybe it’s being 39 or maybe it’s the toll 2014 has taken on me but I feel my skin and hair has aged dramatically this year and that too affected the products I’ve chosen and ended up loving. So without further ado, the best beauty purchases I made this year:

best beauty buys 2014

Garnier Fructis Texture Tease Spray

I don’t like polished hair. More than once I have gone to my stylist with a picture of Fearne Cotton in my hands. I like that slightly rocker/just had sex tousled look but my hair is too fine, too slippery, too curly in places and too smooth in others to really make it work. I’ve tried all sorts of products to make hair look dirty and it just makes my hair look… dirty. I saw this video on Tammy’s blog A Loyal Love and decided to give Garnier’s Texture Tease a try. The pricepoint is low enough that if it’s a fail I won’t have too much buyer’s remorse. Well no remorse, I LOVE this stuff. It makes my hair look messy and dirty but in a sexy way, not an unshowered way. I can still manipulate my hair and it doesn’t look ashy on my dark tresses. I can’t make it work Day 2, it gets really gummy, but it’s still a favorite when I want to make next-day hair look purposeful or have a bedhead look.

Revlon ColorStay Foundation

I raved about the whipped version last year, well this summer I got the combo/oily skin version and it’s my jam, even more so than the hydrating version. I wrote about it here, but it deserves more rave.  It’s a touch thinner in consistency which I think gives a more natural feel. I also find the colors to be slightly warmer in the oil free version, better matching my skintone. This stuff stays put all day, through crying and sweat and allergies and rain.

TIGI Bed Head After Party Smoothing Cream

This product is great for smoothing the ends of my hair. When I curl my hair it can look a bit Shirley Temple; if I gently brush it out with a wood-bristle brush (love this one), it makes it natural eaves but the ends (especially when I’m in need of a trim) can get fuzzy. I put a tiny amount, smaller than a pea on my finger and rub it on my finger tips and grab each curl and smooth it. This will separate the curls without making them look greasy and helps them keep their shape. I also like it on the ends of my hair when I style it straight; it keeps humidity and frizz at bay and adds a touch of weight to keep the look polished.

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Glow Pads

I wrote about these here, but I don’t think I properly explained the awesomeness of these little pads. I was reading Man Repeller this early fall and she made a comment about how her dark circles were more prominent which meant her summer tan was fading. It was an aha moment and I realized I looked so exhausted because my tan had faded, making my lifelong undereye circles stand out. So I used one of these pads that night and the next morning I looked well rested for the first time in weeks. Not only that, when I use these pads, my skin is happy and it seems to clear up the little bumps I get on my chin. I don’t use these more than twice a week or else I look like a Real Housewife; I usually use them on a Friday night so the change in skintone isn’t as obvious to coworkers, and then another used on Monday night will keep the glow going with a subtle fade through the days. I use one pad, I do my face, being sure to swipe up into my hairline and over my ears, then get my neck, and do the whole décolleté using my bra straps and cups as a template. I then take the pretty-much dry pad at this point and do quick swipes over my hands and forearms. Then I wash my hands very well, apply my regular eye and night cream and go to bed. I don’t look fake, I don’t get streaks, and my skin is happier for it. Heads up, you can get 50-packs of these pads on Amazon for much cheaper than other sites; if you shop at Beauty.com (which I love because great GWPs and free shipping and cash back on future orders and combo your order with Drugstore.com) you can often get one of these pads as a free sample at checkout if you’d like to try before you buy.

OGX Coconut Water Conditioner

Another item I have already raved about. This was the only product I used to cleanse my hair until about mid-October when the weather finally went cold and my hair went from full and wavy to limp and straight. Still, I use this as an actual conditioner on my ends and Karl uses it as the sole cleanser on his hair. Great price, great smell, look forward to using it again as my main hair cleanser this coming summer!

e.l.f. Studio Mist and Set

I raved about this before but it really is a phenomenal setting spray for your makeup and the price can’t be beat. I received a similar spray from MaryKay during a partnership with them and while their setting spray works, smells better and has a finer mist and better quality bottle, it doesn’t compare to e.l.f.’s in regard to holding makeup in place through EVERYTHING. I keep the MaryKay for the work week and e.l.f for long days, nights out, and the summer heat and humidity.

Revlon LacquerBalm in Enticing

Revlon’s Just Bitten BalmStain in Romantic has been my go-to for quite a while, and I regularly use many other colors and consistencies of these chubby lip crayons from Revlon. But none held my heart like Romantic did… until Enticing. Enticing is a more intense, higher pigment red with a glossy finish. I like it alone for a more polished version of bitten lips – red, glossy, but not too perfect. However it is an awesome product layered over a matte lipstick or stain. I love the Revlon matte lipsticks and will wear Enticing over them to increase the pigment and add shine without losing longevity; Enticing will wear away gently and naturally leaving the lipstick below and preventing a ring around the lips or completely bare lips come the end of lunch.  You can see this combo when I was featured at Style IT.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse

I wrote about this product here, and it is still my favorite brow product. I no longer use the brush that came with it, feeling that it gave too harsh and obvious a line; I now use my Trish McEvoy 32 Eyebrow Brush because it has shorter, stiffer bristles letting me get in color without a harsh obvious line. This color stays put until I wash it off with soap and it looks very natural.

Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder

Yep, I tried the contouring trend that was hot this year. I didn’t want to look like Kim Kardashian or someone from the ‘80s, but wanted to try a more subtle version. Everyone had been raving about this powder and I found it new on eBay and decided to try it (you can also find it on Amazon). I watched a couple YouTube videos and did contouring… and looked ridiculous. Completely lovely for a photo, but insane IRL. However, I really came to like the Banana powder. On a normal day, I apply foundation and then use this over the foundation under the eyes and it diminishes puffiness and darkness without looking cakey or false, and I think it does a better job than concealer. I apply it with the MaryKay Liquid Foundation brush because I had it and it was clean when the powder arrived in the mail. And I continue to apply it in that manner because the brush is soft and fits under my lower lashes nicely while blending the powder beautifully.

So I’d like to hear from you, what were your best beauty buys of the year?

What I Wore: Middle of the Road

Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Emploi New York Lexington Long DressWardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Emploi New York Lexington Long DressWardrobe Oxygen: Dagne Dover Python ClutchWardrobe Oxygen What I Wore: Emploi New York Lexington Long Dress
Dress: Lexington Long Dress c/o emploi New York | Bracelet: CC Skye via MYHABIT | Bag: Limited Edition Clutch-Wallet c/o Dagne Dover | Shoes: Nine West ‘Flax’ | Lipstick: Revlon ‘Really Red’

If you recall, I partnered with emploi New York in the past with an uber flattering jersey dress; well this dress is from their latest collection.  In a color that is surprisingly flattering on my winter fair skin and a ponte fabric that is comfortable and warmer than many knits, this is a great “desk to drinks” dress that could easily dress up for the holiday season.  Being 5’3″ I immediately felt I had to take this dress (and most clothes I buy) to the tailor to shorten the hem, but I decided to leave it as-is for variety in my closet and a more winter-friendly length.  When it gets colder I will be wearing it with tights and tall boots to the office.  I love how emploi creates truly wearable clothing for the professional woman; fashion that is on trend but still appropriate for the boardroom.

Well emploi has expanded to include jewelry! emploi New York has partnered with RAGEN Jewels for a gorgeous jewelry collection. It’s an artisanal collection with only a few pieces of each style available. There’s statement pieces like the Angel Wing Pave Earrings and then delicate everyday looks like the adorable Wish Bone Necklace.  I can’t wait to see what else emploi has in store for the New Year!

Revlon ColorBurst™: Review and Giveaway

Recently I shared with you one of my beauty secret weapons – having a face uniform and switching it up with one single beauty product. It was the end of the summer and beginning of fall, and I was feeling soft glossy lips and a more subtle look. But now that the weather has gotten downright chilly, Daylight Saving Time has happened and it seems to be dark all the time, it’s fun to add a punch with a bright or bold lip.

My face routine has changed a bit for the colder months to include more hydration and a CC cream to add color and evenness to my winter pallor, but it is still a uniform. When it comes to a favorite lip product, for a year it has been the Revlon® Just Bitten Kissable™ Balm Stain. Romantic is a soft red that makes me feel like Snow White when I wear it (I reviewed it here), and Crush Begun is a perfect dark berry shade that is perfect for this season’s fashion trends (worn here). I love these chubby crayons because they are easy to apply even without a mirror, they stay put without being drying, no need for a fancy sharpener, and they fade nicely without looking as though I ate off my lips.

I guess I am not the only one who adores these lip products, because Revlon® has come out with two amazing products – the Revlon ColorBurst™ Lacquer Balm and the Revlon ColorBurst™ Matte Balm. And yes, I am just as obsessed with these products as I am with the Revlon® Just Bitten Kissable™ Balm Stain.

Both of these new products are in the same convenient container – a cap that actually stays put, a retractable point that never rolls up when in your purse, causing the product to smash into the cap. Both products wear as nicely as the Revlon® Just Bitten Kissable™ Balm Stain, and have just as wonderful of pigment. However, these products give a completely different and very on-trend effect to the lips:

The Revlon ColorBurst™ Lacquer Balm provides a lacquer-like high shine finish with balm-like moisture. Infused with a triple butter complex of shea, mango and coconut butter, these chubby crayons are kind to winter-chapped lips. I received Demure and Vivacious; Demure is a very pale pink with a hint of shimmer which looked a bit chalky on me when worn alone, but makes for a lovely sheer topcoat over matte lipsticks and stains (you can see it on me in this outfit post, worn over the Revlon® Just Bitten Kissable ™ Balm Stain in Crush Begun). However Vivacious is my new love, and holds a place of respect in my purse with Romantic and Crush Begun. A gorgeous hot pink that would make Barbie jealous, it’s a fun color that will jazz up your holiday LBD or make an otherwise fresh face look cheerful on a cold winter day. You can see I wore it in this outfit post and it gave a fun pop of color to a neutral look without looking too extreme for work.

The Revlon ColorBurst™ Matte Balm, like the Lacquer Balm is infused with that triple butter complex. The difference between the two is the Matte Balm is just as it is named, a matte look, but has a soft and non-drying balm finish. I received Audacious and Striking and I have to say I am a mega fan. In winter, it’s hard to carry off a matte lip without looking like death warmed over or having your lips crack and flake. With the hydrating ingredients in the Revlon® ColorBurst™ Matte Balm, you can achieve the matte look and still have soft, supple lips. I love these two colors, they really brighten a tan-free winter face without looking extreme, I think they look great with a bit of flush to the cheeks (still rocking the Revlon® PhotoReady™ Cream Blush in Coral Reef), and lush lashes. Audacious looks like a terrifying orange in the package, but on it’s a surprisingly wearable mango shade that I think would look fantastic on many skin tones. Striking is a bright red with almost a neon tinge that reminds me of a very popular orangey-red lipstick work by a certain bespectacled style icon, but at a nicer price and an easier application. Both can be made more intense of a color with stronger application; a quick swipe will give a sheer layer of color.

My beauty secret weapon remains the same – keeping it simple but making it look more complex with a quick change of one product. And this fall and winter expect to see that product be Revlon’s ColorBurst™ Balms!

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Revlon: My Secret Weapon (and a Giveaway!)

Products for this post were provided by Revlon. All opinions are my own.

As a blogger as well as a full-time working mom, I sort of feel like a super hero. Having a child has taught me how to work on less sleep. Working and managing a blog has made me a maestro of time management. Having a happy family and successful career is thanks to being a multitasking rockstar. But all of this is thanks to secret weapons I have gathered over the past couple of years.

One of my best secret weapons is having a uniform. It’s clear from this blog that I don’t wear the same thing every day, but with time and experience I have pared down silhouettes and color stories to make getting dressed each morning far simpler. I no longer fight my figure or lifestyle, but shop to incorporate these two first, current trends second.

The same comes with my beauty routine. My secret weapon of a uniform is just as important with my cosmetics. I do the same exact face every single day, and then add variety with one simple change of eyes or lips. I recently shared how I switch up my beauty routine to incorporate eye color, but this fall I am a bigger fan of keeping my eyes uniform, and adding punch with my lips. I really like my lips, and I find making them the focus gives the look more impact, and really puts my uniform secret weapon to good use!

Revlon recently sent me three of their Revlon ColorBurst™ Lip Butters to add to my beauty routine. I’m a mega Revlon fan, and have used their ColorBurst™ Lip Butters before and have enjoyed them so I was thrilled by the gift. Available in 20 fabulous shades, the Revlon ColorBurst™ Lip Butters are a buttery balm with shiny color. The hydrating mango, Shea and coconut butter formula boosts lip moisture by 156%; in a study 94% of women felt lips were softer, smoother, and instantly hydrated after using Revlon’s ColorBurst™ Lip Butters. I love this product because it feels so good all day, wears quite nicely, gives great shine without stickiness, and is one of those products you can put on sans mirror and look amazing.

The three colors I received were Pink Lemonade, Peach Parfait, and Berry Smoothie. All three are wearable shades of pink that would be flattering to many skintones no matter the season; I was especially thrilled to receive Berry Smoothie because I owned it previously but lost it on a vacation.

Berry Smoothie–it’s like my lip color, but better.  Not too pink, not too mauve, just a more polished me.  I love wearing this color on weekends and I keep it in my purse for quick touch-ups during the workday.

Peach Parfait – A great way to try the coral lip trend without too much intensity.  For someone who prefers cool tones, this is a very flattering peachy shade.  A hint of shimmer, this is a great lip color to balance a bolder smoky eye.

Pink Lemonade–like the beverage, sweet but with an edge.  The tube may make you think this is a teenybopper pink, but the color is quite flattering to all ages and looks great with flushed cheeks and defined lashes.  It’s also a great topcoat on lip stains for a bit of shine and necessary hydration.

With a uniform of same face, cheeks, and eyes each day, there’s the time and money to be more daring or creative with your lip color. I love that I can get ready in just a couple minutes because I have perfected my uniform face, and I love that a switch from a dark stain to a bold lipstick or a fresh glossy balm like Revlon’s Lip Butters can completely transform my look.

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Saving Face: Long Wearing Makeup for High-Stress Moments

2014… we’re having a rocky relationship. We started with the best of intentions but there have been quite a few things in the past few months that have caused stress, distress, and many tears. I fully believe that taking care of what’s inside takes precedence over taking care of your exterior, but I also know that looking good can improve your mood, and not having to worry about how you look gives you room and time to focus on more important matters.

A couple months ago, I had a pretty severe and unexpected cryfest. When I calmed down, I went to the bathroom to clean up and was amazed that the only thing that was messed up was my lipstick. I had attended an event earlier in the day and had a full face but didn’t have to dab a single smear from under my eyes or reapply concealer. Unfortunately, I have had many opportunities since to test out my makeup and it has held up to sweat, to tears, to allergy attacks. It’s the season of pollen, prom, graduation, weddings, and unexpected situations always arise; here’s what I use for a face that holds up even if you’re breaking down:

The Base

Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More
After moisturizing, I use one pump of this primer on my forehead, cheeks, chin, and around my mouth. It fills pores and fine lines without caking and never causes me breakouts. I highly recommend this product even on its own without foundation; it evens the skin, fills without looking fake, and lasts most of the day.

Revlon ColorStay Foundation
In the winter I used the Whipped Creme version, but now that it’s getting hot and humid I’ve switched to the formula for oily/combo skin. When I had the cast and wasn’t expert at blending with my non-dominant hand, I started applying with the Real Techniques Stippling Brush (great line of budget-friendly high quality brushes), and then using my fingers or a BeautyBlender to blend around the eyes and nose. The brush gives me an even finish with less product. And the foundation looks natural (I use Medium Beige) and seriously lasts all day and into the evening without rubbing onto someone’s shoulder during a hug.

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage
I once read an interview with a makeup artist who said he always applied concealer after foundation so it didn’t get rubbed away. I tried it and have been using that method ever since. I am a Laura Mercier fan, I’ve been using this concealer for six years and nothing compares in my opinion. The compact comes with two colors so you can blend the two or choose a lighter for dark circles, darker for zits. I use SC-2 and like the light color for the corner of my eyes which get very dark, and the darker color under my eyes because the orange tone cancels out the shadows and doesn’t leave a ghost-like finish. I use my ring finger, tap into the compact, tap onto the skin. I don’t rub, I just tap until it is blended.

Color

Revlon PhotoReady Cream Blush
I use Coral Reef, which I find natural on my skintone.  I reviewed it here, and I have to stress how you apply makes all the difference. Like my concealer, I tap in the compact, tap on the face, and then blend. This blush lasts all day and is shimmer-free so it’s appropriate for daytime and serious occasions.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Color
I reviewed it here, but it’s great because it lasts all day; I have even gone in a pool and came out with still colored and groomed brows. You can rub your face and it won’t budge, but comes off easily with a gentle face wash.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette 1
I really love these shadows, they are natural colors, versatile, and last a good amount of time. I like that there’s no shimmer (except Venus which I never use), so I can have a simple day look and be appropriate for more serious occasions. Naked 2 alone on the lid and a bit over the crease can give enough contour and definition for daytime; Faint can add more contour or replace liner.

Maybelline Stiletto Liner
I like this in Brownish Black which isn’t as severe as black and matches my dark brown eyes. The felt tip is easy to use; I start in the middle of the eye and draw a skinny line right along the lash line to the outer corner, then go back and do a bit in the center. This makes my lashes look more lush and it doesn’t smear. It will drip in a pool or rainstorm, but it holds up to a cryfest or sweaty day at a festival if you use a very thin line right at the lashline.

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes
First I curl my lashes, then a light application of the mascara from this product, focusing on the tips of my lashes. Then the fiber product, removing any fluff balls and wiggling between lashes. Then a final sweep of the mascara, again wiggling through lashes to get all surfaces and prevent clumps. I do not put this product on my lower lashes because it’s sticky and when you cry your top and bottom lashes stick together and you cry even more and start grabbing at your lashes and… well just don’t do it. If you feel the need for lower-lash mascara, consider a water resistant formula (I use Cover Girl Clump Crusher).  To ensure this sticks around, don’t rub your eyes – if the product gets wet AND is rubbed it will shed all over your cheeks.  But if it gets wet and can dry naturally it will stay in place.

Set it and Forget It

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder
My skin is pretty dry in the winter, so I usually can go without a setting powder. However if I know it will be a long day or a sweaty one, I use this product (applied with the Sephora bronzer brush) to set my base face.  It’s invisible, but it seems to do a bit of airbrushing while keeping all my products in place.

e.l.f. Studio Mist and Set
I love this stuff. Two spritzes and my face will stay in place for HOURS. it doesn’t clog my pores, doesn’t sting, doesn’t leave a matte finish, just acts like hairspray to hold everything in place. I use this daily, and keep the NARS for special occasions.  I have used this, had fitful sleep, woken up and still have a decent face and no pillow case covered with foundation.  Pretty impressive for a cheap product!

Other Tips:

  • Be Prepared.  CVS and other drugstores often have a trial pack of makeup wipes in their travel section; it’s great to have one of these packs in your purse to do makeup repair. Instead of rubbing away everything, it can spot clean up dripping mascara or liner or a smeary lip and you don’t have to rinse afterwards.
  • Keep a Neutral Lip. The last thing you want to do is have lipstick on your teeth, your chin, your cousin’s cheek, your husband’s suit jacket. Stick to a subtle lip (I love Laura Mercier’s Sparkling Pink lipstick for an almost-nude face and Revlon’s Balm Stain in Romantic for a touch of red that fades nicely) so you can focus on what matters.
  • It’s Okay to Go Bare. If the idea of putting on makeup stresses you out, DON’T DO IT. Your health and comfort and taking care of others is always top priority. These suggestions are if you are like me and feel that a finished face gives you a sense of normalcy and a “suit of armor” to battle through tough situations.

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Wednesday


Black cashmere tank from Banana Republic, black ponte jacket from Banana Republic Outlet, Chinese red shantung skirt from Banana Republic (definite theme here!), leopard peeptoe heels from BCBGirls, gold necklace from Express, gold bangles from Ralph Lauren.

Hair was washed and conditioned, dried with my Croc wet-to-dry iron. No products.’

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match concealer in W1-3, Benefit’s That Gal, philosophy The Supernatural in Beige, Nars blush in Orgasm, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – ivory over whole lid. Lashes curled, two coats Cover Girl Lash Blast and one of Imju Fiberwig. Maybelline Ultraliner in black on top lash line and on lips is some Revlon Shiny Sheers in a sheer red that I left at home by accident so do not have to read the label.

I am not really sure what is going on with the layout of my posts; I have not done anything different so it must be that Blogger is being stupid again.

This outfit is inspired by Catie’s contest at Cuffington. This outfit makes me fabulous inside… though notsomuch when I walk past my reflection in a window. I adore this skirt, it is so much fun and the color is awesome. The cashmere tank is really thick and I have had it for years and got it for like $10 on the clearance rack. Jacket has given me many miles and I love its versatility and the shoes… oh I love these shoes so much I have two pairs of them! All that is missing is my silver cuff, this great green ring I bought at a Ren Fest and my wedding tiara and I would be wearing almost all my favorite things! :) Too bad this skirt isn’t the most flattering (the one my husband says makes me look like Mimi from Drew Carey) or I would wear it every week! :)

Thursday

Black stretch v-neck from Banana Republic, white twill cuffed cropped pants from Casual Corner, black leather thong heeled sandals from Mossimo, multiple skinny silver bangles from Ann Taylor Loft, black leather and silver necklace from Chico’s.

Hair is weird. In the shower I was considering loose messy waves and the front feathered out. Yeah, I watched Jessica Simpson’s stupid new video and was slightly inspired. So I added Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Spray, blew hair straight letting it do as it pleased, twisting some pieces. It ended up looking damaged and gross. I continued blowing, using a paddle brush, that made some difference. I then blew the front with a round boar bristle brush and then applied bioSilk so it didn’t look as much like straw…. not my best hair day.

Makeup is L’Oreal True match foundation in C3, MAC Studio Stick concealer, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer for color and powder, a bit of Nars Orgasm blush. Eyes is the ivory shadow from Revlon’s ColorStay Neutral shadow quad, then The Body Shop’s 08 (Granite) in the lids and along the lash line. lashes curled via Shu Eumura and two coats of L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black applied. On lips is Sally Hansen’s diamond lipgloss in a hot pink (the label with the name fell off).

Saturday

In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. :-)

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Thursday Rant

I guess I am setting myself up for blogging failure. Yes, I have great readership, but my blogs are not considered “successful” in many people’s eyes because I hardly make a cent off of them. I don’t get weekly freebies from retailers, I don’t bring in the big bucks from my minimal ads, I blog for… you, and not for me.

Well I guess in all honesty it is for me. I do love to write, I love to shop, and I love to tell people my opinion. I love to make fellow women feel good about themselves, and I love it when I get a comment or email that tells me I made a difference in a person’s life.

But unlike many blogs that have been around less time than I, I am not profitable. I know fellow bloggers who have been able to go to part-time or quit their job all together from the success of their blogs. Ads alone bring in a huge portion of their income, and affiliates help even more. Retailers contact them, offering free goods and money in return for praise on their blog. They promote products they have never used, $1,200 purses they can never afford, fashions that fit a very small minority of the population. They have fancy banners and avatars and glossy ads for Sephora and Nieman Marcus and Strawberry Net all over their page, receiving profits per click. They offer links for that designer bag, receiving a percentage from each bag sold to that online boutique.

Now I would love nothing more than to be able to quit my job and write. I would love to write a book based on this blog, and have always dreamed of being a personal shopper and wardrobe consultant. However I am an adult with a mortgage, a car payment, student loans and yes… a conscience. I cannot and will not ever promote something I do not believe in.

Retailers, feel free to send me samples of your stuff, and if I like it, I will be more than happy to review it on here. I will offer links to your website, may show myself wearing your product. But if your product is sub par or inappropriate for my audience, I will not write about it. Or, I may warn you readers to stay away from these vendors. I have no fear.

I also can’t advertise that which I think is just wrong, like a $1,200 purse. A lipgloss that costs $40 and is nothing better than Revlon’s Super Lustrous line. Clothing that does not go over a size 10.

If I can’t afford or fit it, I’m betting the majority of you can’t either.

Reports have shown that there is an influx in purchasing of designer goods and experts believe it is linked to the influx of bloggers writing about said products. I know when I was in middle school I just HAD to have a Liz Claiborne purse and a Forenza roll-neck sweater because everyone else had it. Gosh, Betsy and Heather had both and look at how pretty and popular and blonde they were? Maybe if my stubby, brunette self had both I would be just as popular and glamorous.

I saved up for both because my parents couldn’t afford those sorts of things. I sported my white Forenza roll-neck sweater with my navy Liz Claiborne purse with the navy trim, and that day at lunch, my friend tripped and spilled chocolate milk all over me, permanently staining that beloved sweater. Soon, I realized people liked me whether or not I wore designer duds. Instead of worrying about the label, I worried about the fit and how it expressed my personality. To the 8th grade school dance when the rest of the girls wore ruffled dresses, I wore a black mock turtleneck, black harem pants, black suede booties and my brightly-printed bedroom curtain pinned around my waist like a cummerbund. That was the first time a “cool boy” asked me to dance. And that was when I realized money does not equal style, labels do not equal fashion, and I will never be a slave to them. And I hope none of you ever will either.

Decades later I am the author of this blog. I am still stubby, I am still a brunette, and I am still lacking designer duds in my closet. Yes, it feels amazing to own a designer garment or a coveted beauty item – I’m not going to say I don’t enjoy my DiorShow mascara, my Joe’s jeans, or would love nothing more than to strut around town in a pair of Jimmy Choos. But you know what? I am happy in my skin, happy in my heart and still getting looks from the “cool boys.” I may not be a financially successful blogger, but when I get an email from you guys that says you’re happier as a woman because of some of my advice… I feel like the richest blogger in the world!

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.

Holiday Gift Guide for the Practical Pal

We all have that friend or relative who doesn’t NEED anything and finds most traditional gifts frivolous. While she may be perfectly happy with a gift card to Target, it’s nice to buy actual gifts for people to unwrap and realize you thought of them. While I have been scouring the web for other posts, I’ve been bookmarking things I find to be so practical yet lovely that most anyone would like it as a gift. All of these are under $100 and have free shipping.

gift guide practical presents holiday

1. Large Personalized Canvas Tote – $34.50

A little secret, this is one of my favorite baby and bridal shower gifts. While many sizes of this tote are available, I find the Large Tote to be the most versatile size. It can be a beach bag, overnight bag, reusable grocery tote, tote all your kid’s toys to grandma’s, tote your dirty clothes to the Laundromat… I love carrying potluck items in it – I wrap the casserole in towels on the bottom and on top I can put a 6-pack, bottle of wine, present for the hostess and it won’t topple over in the trunk on the way there. Personalization is free, making it the gift she didn’t think she needed but will be using regularly for years.

2. Stabilicers Lite Hikers – $29.95

I may be biased from my ice slip last year, but this was an AWESOME gift from my sister. They’re rubber so they stretch over shoes pretty easily, and are easy to slip off once you get to your destination. A great choice for anyone in an icy location, and especially good for those who aren’t as steady on their feet (or fear black ice after a previous fall, jus’ sayin’…). Do know they run a bit small, if unsure go up a size because they still won’t be too big for boots and sturdier shoes.

3. Starbucks Stainless Travel Mug – $19.95

Almost ten years ago, I won a $50 Starbucks card and I bought that year’s version of this mug. And I am still using that mug today. Most travel mugs get weird with time – the lids get stretched out, they leak, the double walled system separates. Not this baby. While it doesn’t look brand new any more, it keeps my coffee hotter longer than any other mug I’ve had, fits in all the cupholders in both of our cars, and it holds a full 16 ounces. This is something that is worth spending a bit extra and your loved one will thank you five years from now when she’s still reaching for it for her daily work commute. Do note, this isn’t one with free shipping (it is on Amazon with free Prime shipping but costs $10 more), but I’ve seen it in several Starbucks locations this year so it’s easy to pick up in person. If you plan to buy more at Starbucks, code AFF10 should give you 10% off your first purchase with them online plus free shipping if you spend at least $65.

4. Refurbished Kindle Paperwhite – $99

I got one free last year as part of a blogger promotion and it made me a Paperwhite convert. My mom bought her boyfriend one last Christmas and he loves it. Long battery life, great for the practical person who doesn’t want to add more stuff to her house, and especially nice for those with poor vision or dexterity. While the newest generation Paperwhites are $119, you can find perfectly good refurbished ones under $100 and Amazon provides a 1-year limited warranty and proper packaging so you can feel good giving refurbished as a quality gift.

5. Portable Power Bank – $49.95

The more we rely on our smartphones, the faster we deplete their batteries. This compact charger that isn’t much bigger than a smartphone adds a boost of power to small appliances just when you need it most.

6. Silk Long Johns and Socks – Starting at $17

Of course you better know the person quite well to give such a gift, but it’s likely one that will be loved and well used by the recipient for many years to come. Since he doesn’t read my blog I’ll let you know I got Karl the Silk Interlock Crew and Pants for a gift this year (thank you Lands’ End for carrying it in Tall!) and I know he’ll go gaga for it while he usually finds most gifts silly. Lands’ End has a great return policy, are known for quality, and have a nice variety and pricepoint making it a good destination for such gifts.

7. Legacybox – Starting at $75

What a cool concept; fill a Legacybox with old films, photos, slides, negatives, tapes and more and send it back with the pre-paid shipping label and they will carefully digitize all your memories. You will get back all your original memories as well as DVDs with your digital copies. At the time of writing this, if you visited the site and provided your email you’d automatically get a 25% off coupon and last week I received a coupon for 40% off and a promise to have Legacybox delivered in time for Christmas.

8. Adult Shearling Insoles – $16

Slip them into a pair of your tall leather or snow boots for warmth and comfort or give new life to an old pair of slippers. Made from natural shearling which wicks moisture and EVA foam which adds cushioning, these would be a welcome treat for anyone’s tootsies this winter.

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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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!

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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Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Friday Favorite: The Body Shop Satsuma Shower Gel

body shop satsuma shower gel

From fall 2001 to the beginning of 20014, I was a trainer for The Body Shop stores. After many years in apparel and merchandising I desired a change. I was making a concerted effort to get out of debt, and it would be easier without temptation around me and the need to be dressed in the latest and greatest (hello all-black dress code!). And it worked, I not only got out of debt, but I learned a lot about skincare and ingredients, how to be profitable and philanthropic at the same time, and finally how to properly apply eye shadow!

When I worked for The Body Shop back in the early oughts, we would burn fragrance oils in an aroma jar at the front entrance. I learned quickly that a blend of Satsuma and Exotic oils would bring in customers from all over the mall, and it would be easy to sell them a jar, bag of candles, those two oils and much more. After two and a half years with the company I couldn’t stand the smell of Exotic but I never tired of Satsuma. After leaving the company I’d still buy the shower gel and glycerin soap bars. It’s a sweet orange scent that doesn’t get weird, isn’t too fruity or pungent, and is a nice pick-me-up in the morning. But with time I forgot about Satsuma and moved on to new brands and different scents.

When my arm broke, I realized simple things like squeezing shower gel onto a pouf or washcloth were nearly impossible. I went on a hunt for spray and pump products that could be used with one hand and came back to The Body Shop. I ordered a bottle of Satsuma shower gel… and I don’t think I’ll go back to any other bath products!

Not only do I love the clementine scent, I love how it doesn’t dry my skin. It doesn’t scent my skin, so no competing with perfume or lotions but it does scent the main floor after a hot bath or shower. Even Karl uses it! A little goes a long way; I bought a 25 oz. bottle in February and just hit the bottom of the label and that includes all the times I indulged in very bubbly baths. While it’s a perfect summer scent, I know I’ll love it in the colder months too. A little bit of sunshine with every shower or bath!