Category Archives: Fashion tips

Why I Love Women, More on Stitch Fix, and a Confession

This morning I opened the door of the small, private hair salon I go to and was greeted with great joy and excitement. Right at the door stood my stylist/friend Nicole and one of her customers, who immediately started shouting things like, “And here she is! There’s one on each side of you! [laughter, applause]. This is so great! [More applause]. Let’s roll out the red carpet! [Nicole had a brown towel in her hands and laid it on the floor in front of me]. Oh my God, she’s here at last! Hooray!” So I laugh and shout with them, and I step onto the towel and bow and give a Queen Elizabeth wave to the two women. I’m complimented and applauded some more. I applaud them back. Mind you, I did absolutely nothing but walk in the door.  Continue reading

My Short Love Affair with Zoe, plus How to Mix Patterns

You know what’s exciting, in a Christmas-y kind of way? Getting a box in the mail, a box full of clothes that you will probably love and that will probably be in your size but that you have no idea what is in there (I apparently wasn’t up to the challenge of that grammatically tricky sentence). Anyway, that exciting Christmas feeling is what I got with my first box from Stitch Fix. I promise, this is not an ad or a sponsored article. I wish it was, and that Stitch Fix would pay me. In free Fixes. (Stitch Fix people, hint hint…)
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Two Tips for Becoming a Fall Fashionista

I’m feeling sort of fashion-y today because of the change in seasons and the resulting opportunity to wear different outfits, so I’m going back to the roots of this blog for a bit of non-professional fashion advice.
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From Adolescent to Middleaged and (Oh, No!) Back Again

Remember what I said last week, about not wanting to be an adolescent girl again? Turns out, I AM an adolescent girl again. Look at the horrifying evidence:

  • Hormonal;
  • Struggling with unwelcome changes in my body;
  • Ready to explore the world and (re)find my place in it;
  • Staring deeply into my own eyes while looking in a mirror and studying a book on how to look pretty.

I’d better explain that last one.
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Long Overdue Visit with Nordstrom Liz, with Fashion Tips

Finally got to shop with Nordstrom Liz again — she moved to a more distant Nordstrom a year or so ago and I hadn’t gone to see her since the move. Friday night I took Lizzie and a bunch of her friends. We had dinner with Nordstrom Liz and then tried on a bunch of clothes in the fancy, large dressing rooms that Liz had put together for us. I could hear the girls giggling and trying on clothes and hats and boots, while I shopped and got some fashion advice from Liz. For example:
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Technology Tears plus Thoughts on Short Bodies

I have been asked to include better pictures when I post items about style, but have been challenged by the fact that I have no initiative when it comes to technology. But now I am happy to announce that my photos should be improving. Here’s why:
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Are You Frightened in Public Restrooms? Also, Socks

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who enter a public bathroom worrying that they’ll find a dead body in there, and those who put the dead bodies in there.
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Lips Injections: Before and After, and Please Don’t Be Judge-y

I decided to have the lip injections (Juviderm) that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago done for a little plumping. I’m still bruised but am overall really happy with the result. They look just like my regular lips but more, well, plump. With less receding-ness going on. I still feel a bit as though spending money for this is vain and unecessary, and if you feel that way too, well, stop reading. Anyway, before and after below. I am not wearing lip liner in either pic, and I did not go out of the lines on the bottom one.

Before injections.

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5 Steps to Subtle, Sultry, Smokey Eyes

Here is why I am qualified to offer this eye shadow lesson:

1. I’ve recently talked to a couple of “makeup artists” at Sephora and they showed me how to do eyes, so clearly I am well-educated in the art. Also, having bought way too many Urban Decay color palettes because I appear to be addicted, and having spent way too much time playing around with them and making myself late for things (sorry, DeAnna), I thought I’d share some of the fun I’ve been having;

2. Angel told me she liked the way I did my eye shadow, on a day that I had experimented with “smokey” eyes, so I am obviously a professional. (And don’t go all, “Who the hell is Angel? Jen should really tell us who she’s talking about,” because I’ve written about her a number of times, and I’ve told you that she is my sister-in-law and one of my very bestiest of besties, so pay attention, people! I will not be explaining this again.)

Smokey? Or bruised-looking?

Anyway, here’s how I’ve been doing my eye shadow. A few things to note:

1. I thought this was bullshit, but it turns out that it really does help to have a variety of brushes. Depending on the firmness or softness of the bristles, the thickness of the brush, and the shape of the brush, you have more control over how the eye shadow goes on.

2. Make sure to tap off the excess from the brush before you apply it. If you don’t, flecks of eye shadow will sprinkle onto your cheeks like fairy dust and no matter how pretty the color is, you probably don’t want it on your cheekbones. (Also, it won’t make you able to fly no matter how much you clap your hands and believe in fairies, so don’t bother. I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work.) Additionally, you are more likely to get a clump of color in one spot when the brush first touches your skin. In a similar vein, avoid using a heavy hand when applying it. Brush very, very lightly. If you apply the eye shadow with too firm a hand, it is harder to spread the shadow evenly and harder to blend. (The Sephora lady showed me the truth of this but I don’t feel like taking more pictures to prove it, so you’ll have to trust me. Which I hope you do. Because if you don’t trust me, why are you reading this in the first place?)

3. I had a third tip, but now I can’t remember it, and don’t tell me I probably only had two but only thought I had three because I have ADHD and tend to forget pretty much everything (see what a convenient excuse it is?). I KNOW I had a third tip, because I specifically went back to the sentence above that says, “A few things to note,” and changed it from “a couple things to note,” because I wanted to be specific and a couple means “two” and a few means “three,” so what the hell was the third tip? argh!

Anyway, for what it’s worth, here are my personal steps to sultry eyes. They are all done in shades of brown and beige. I also included a picture of smokey eyes at the end. Same techniques, but in shades of grey and blue. 

Thin brush for shadow along lash line, wider brush for covering the whole eyelid

  

Clean eyelid, no makeup

  

Smudge a line of dark gray along lash-line using just the tip of the thin brush; make it a little thicker toward outside edge. It doesn’t have to be perfect; you will blend later. Also smudge just a bit of gray to the outside third of the lower lash line.

  

Add matte beige over whole eyelid up to the brow bone using the wide brush, then blend well with the fat brush.

 

   

Add slightly shimmery darker brown in middle of eyelid up to brow bone, feathering toward outside corner of eyebrow

  

Fat brush for blending; short, firm but soft bristles

  

Blend, blend, blend, then blend some more

  

Add mascara, wiggling brush at the base of the lashes to separate. I like to add mascara just to the very outside lashes on the lower lash line.

  

Note just a touch of smudged gray on outside corner of lower lid. I like to use it instead of eye liner, which is too heavy for me.

 

   

Same technique, with darker blues and grays

  

 

Smokey eyes. Looks like deep thoughts are running through my mind. That’s because I was thinking about the deep line running across the bridge of my nose. I want it gone, dammit!

HA! I remembered my third tip: for eye shadow along the brow bone, just below the eyebrow, use a flat brush and PAT it on, don’t brush. I don’t know why. The Sephora people told me to do it that way and I always do what I’m told.  I told you I had a third tip, and you doubted me. I may take away some privileges. Not sure. I’ll have to think about it and see if your behavior changes. So shape up.
*I appear to be feeling a little aggressive today and it looks like I’ve scolded you several times. I apologize. Maybe I’m a little nervous because this is my first tutorial and I’m afraid you’re being judge-y. So please don’t judge and forgive me for my attitude. And have a great day. And let me know if you try this out and if it works for you. And send pictures. And that’s all I have to say.

Lifestyle Dictates Personal Style (but Sometimes Too Late) : 3 Examples

Here are some examples of how your lifestyle choices can dictate your own personal style. Try to be smarter than me.

#1. Lifestyle experience: You go to the farm/corn maze with your young children. They play with shedding rabbits, watch pig races in the mud, smash pumpkins with baseball bats and try unsuccessfully to dodge flying pumpkin guts (fully authorized) and wander through the petting zoo. Your daughter wraps her sticky arms around you, distraught because she has lost her lollipop. You look around and spy it stuck to the side of a sheep, tangled in its wool. You yank the lollipop out of the fleece, pulling out many hairs and bits of stick and mud along with it. Your daughter asks for it back.

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Style choice: Next time you go to the farm, you remember to not wear your leather jacket, your newest cowboy boots, and your best jeans. (Yes, it should have been obvious, but I thought the cowboy boots were the perfect touch.) Alternatively, go for the avant-garde: wear a fleece vest or jacket and stick your daughter’s lollipop to it.

#2. Lifestyle experience: You’re snowboarding with your besties. You have finally started wearing a helmet after that last severe fall when your head hit the snow with the force of your son hitting a pumpkin with a baseball bat. You ask your sister-in-law if she wears a hat under her helmet. She says she does. You put on a wool hat. Midmorning on the slopes and you feel the sweat trickling through your hair. Your head itches and you can’t get to it through the helmet. The Colorado sun beats down on your head and is reflected up from the snow; it’s a mild and lovely day. You can’t enjoy it because of the head-sweat. Your sis feels great and says you shouldn’t have worn a hat. You say, “But you told me to wear a hat under my helmet!” and she says, “Well, yeah, but not today!” At lunch, when you take your hat off, your friends stare at you and snicker. Actually, they guffaw, chortle, and cackle. Later, you look in a mirror and words fail: your hair is matted and sticky and flat in some areas and poking out like sticks in others. (I think it was then that my friends started calling me “Mattie.”)

Style choice: You decide to never follow Angel’s advice again (which you should have already known). You put your hair in a ponytail before you put your helment on in the morning to try to keep it obedient. It doesn’t work. You buy a cuter hat for cold days, and at lunchtime you refuse to take it off. On hot days, you put up with their laughter (every. single. time.) and plot revenge.

# 3. Lifestyle experience: You take your kids to the city to see The Book of Mormon. You dress up: short skirt, tailored jacket, and 3 3/4 inch heels. You walk from the parking lot to the theater to look at the billboard. You walk a few blocks to the restaurant, and back. You wander the theater district so your son can take photographs. You enter the theater and climb several flights of stairs. Your seats are “stool” seats: you are sitting on a high, padded stool. Your skirt insists on riding up your thighs. When you climb off the stool at intermission, you fall off your heels. When your daughter is so entranced and excited by the show and talks about how much she wishes she could meet the actors, you offer to take her around back to wait for the actors to leave the theater. She doesn’t even know that’s an option, and is so excited that she speed-walks around the theater to the stage door. You hobble after her. You wait on your high heels for 15 minutes. The actors come out, encourage young enthusiasts, sign programs, chat for awhile. Your nicely tailored jacket begins to feel tight across the shoulders and, obviously, your feet hurt. You long for pajamas. The night is not over. You still have the hour’s ride home. (Author’s note: go see the show. Seriously.)

 

Lizzie, adorable and comfortable in MY Free People tunic.

Style choice: Plan ahead, for God’s sake. Honestly, you should know better. A night at the theater is not like a party; know that there is walking involved, and that you’ll be sitting for hours so wear something comfortable. Also expect that standing at the stage door will now be standard operating practice in this family and plan accordingly.  A nice, fitted jacket and 3+ inch heels are probably perfect for a business meeting or tea party, but not theater (unless you live in NY, and then I think you have to wear heels all the time). Leave a pair of pajamas in the car. Better yet, stuff them in your purse and change in the bathroom after the show.*

*Not that I ever go to either business meetings or tea parties. Actually! Now that I think about it, I happen to throw my own tea party every year at Christmas, with Lizzie’s friends and their moms (also my friends), so hah! Don’t know if it really counts, though, since I stopped serving tea after the first year when it became clear that all the moms vastly preferred the wine that was also on offer, which morphed the following year to margaritas. So no tea, and no tea cakes or finger sandwiches. Instead, something that’s easy to serve on paper plates and lots of time for playing mother/daughter Christmas charades which should be incredibly stupid and lame but which is actually hilarious, probably because of the margaritas on the moms’ parts and the levels of delirious excitement about Christmas on the part of the girls. We use the landing of the stairs which overlooks the living room as a stage. Girls and moms run up and down the stairs, fighting for the chance to act out incredibly easy charades, such as:

Charade: act out the song “Oh, Christmas Tree.”

Charade action: point at Christmas tree.

Now that I think of it, that’s probably not the best time for a short skirt and heels, either. I think my tea party is another perfect venue for pajamas.

 

It’s an actual game!


Couple of lessons I’ve learned: 

  • Do not let your desire to be stylish get in the way of being comfortable. Make sure you own enough comfortable but classy clothes to wear on those occasions when your outfit needs to meet both of those criteria.
  • Plan ahead. This should be a no-brainer. I blame my ADD. I am a terrible, terrible planner. (By the way, ADD is a convenient disorder to be diagnosed with later in life. It can always be twisted, in some way or another, to take the blame for anything. I recommend getting tested. If you need help spinning your answers in order to get a positive diagnosis, let me know.

Damn, damn, damn. I swore this would be a shorter post. I thought my points would be so concise that I originally planned 10 of them. Then 5.