Monday, July 25, 2011

Just Beachy

So I'm headed to Mexico early next year for my brother's wedding! I'm so excited- I've never been to Mexico, and as you might imagine, it's a beach wedding. I'm not sure yet what I will wear to the ceremony, but the other day I went to the beach with an old friend and found a shop I've been meaning to check out. The store is called Closet, and I've seen it at a few different malls around town, so I was surprised to learn it had a beach location. It's a cute store- very inexpensive :) it's what I'd call a 'cheapy store'. Anyway...I picked up a couple of items that would work perfect during my trip. I thought I'd share the items with you!!! These are 2 essential beach items that will never go out of style, so let's get ready to hit the waves...

The first item I picked up is the woven sun hat. I've been looking for a hat like this for forever, but could never find one I absolutely loved. I came close once at a swap meet- but it was the last of its kind and the stitching was unraveling a bit, so I didn't want to spend $10 on something that was already falling apart. None the less, I've searched high and low and finally found this one. What I love about this particular hat besides the fact that it protects you from the sun, is the cute printed scarf it came with. It's fun and very 'summery'. And it's an easy fix if I ever want to change out the scarf. The other feature that sold me on the hat is the brim. I've wanted a sun hat with a very floppy brim- one where you can barely see the eyes at times- something in the style a la J.Lo! But what I love even more about this hat was the price...$7.99! I was stoked when I discovered that this hat was cheaper than the one falling apart at the swap meet- so OF COURSE I had to get it. Living so close to the beach, I'll wear this a lot and especially while in Mexico. Very happy with this purchase!!!

The next item I purchased was a pair of linen pants, in white, which retailed for $17.99 I believe. Linen pants will always be a beach must. They are extremely lightweight, so if they do get wet, it won't take forever for them to dry- which is a good thing, especially if the wind starts to pick up. They are also extremely comfortable, plus...linen is meant to have a bit of a wrinkle to it, so there's no need to stress over having to iron the pant. I especially like the waist on these pants, it features a slouch type band; similar to the kind you would find on a yoga pant. No zippers, snaps, harnesses, etc.! No more fuss- just slip these on and fold the waist band down and you've got the most relaxed comfortable fit. These pants naturally were too long for me, but that was an easy fix, all I had to do was a quick hem. And now I'm ready for the beach!

I'm looking forward to my trip and being able to put these essentials to use....Viva La Mexico! Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jewelry Essentials

Sometimes you have the urge to dress yourself up in jewels. Other times, you want to wear nothing. And then there are those times where you only want to wear key pieces; the ones you wear no matter what. I get that. That's me! Hey, I  think it's always in style to accessorize, but sometimes you CAN go too far. I'm sure I've done it a time or two. You know, the earrings with the matching necklace and bracelet. Or an accessory on just about every limb. Whether we like to admit it or not, it's happened to the best of us. And in an effort to avoid those mistakes, I've compiled a list of essential jewelry items. A list of pieces I think every woman should own, pieces that you can wear for any occasion or with any outfit. So reach for your jewelry box and start may surprise yourself on what you find, and you may just find those essential items were there all along :)

Diamonds are a girl's best friend. So true indeed! Except we aren't talking the 13 or 14 karat items- you know, the diamonds you've always dreamed of having. We're strictly talking about the basics..the diamond studs and matching pendant. These 2 pieces will carry your wardrobe so far. You'll wear these items your entire life- I promise. That is unless you don't like diamonds, and I've yet to meet a woman who didn't! None the less, diamonds are forever elegant and classy. They add that extra touch when you feel your outfit is missing something, and they are extremely versatile. Diamonds can be worn with any outfit. Any!!!! (Keep in mind, we are talking about stud earrings- not the ones that dangle. I don't find those very practical ;) ) Yes, diamonds can be pricey- but they are so worth it. This is one jewelry item, I encourage you to invest in. *Side note: I highly encourage purchasing conflict free diamonds- do your research. However, if in fact you can't afford the real thing, you can also purchase what are known as cubic zirconias; essentially man made diamonds. These aren't the real thing, but if you buy a decent pair, they could pose for a diamond. Cubic zirconia is inexpensive, and so easy to get a hold of. You can find such earrings and necklaces at retailers like Claires or The Icing for less than $10. A small price to pay for a piece you can use a whole lot :)

Who said pearls were your mother's jewelry? They aren't! Pearls are timeless and will forever be fashionable. I find that simple strand of pearls to be very sexy on a woman. Like diamonds, pearls are essential and are also pieces you should invest in. They too add the element of class to any outfit. In my opinion, I find pearls to be more formal than diamonds- so I suggest wearing them on occasions. For example, wear them to a wedding, a baptism, graduation, etc. That's not to say, you should only wear these jewels on days when you're celebrating- I just find that pearls look more attractive when you have a reason to wear them. I like to wear my pearls simple; studded earrings and a single stranded necklace. 
However, pearls do come in many forms. There are the classic white, the not so commonly seen black (which I'm lucky to have, thanks to my grandmother) and then the ridiculously beautiful tahitian pearl- the one I've wanted for so long!!! Do your research before buying a pair, there are so many choices. Just like cubic zirconias, pearls also have impostors. These of course are more affordable than the real thing, you'll find them labeled glass pearls and can be purchased at just about any accessory store. If your jewelry box doesn't contain a set of pearls, real or not, I urge you to go out and get a pair!

What time is it?? Even though watches keep time, in a fashion sense, they are timeless. Watches will always be in style. They come in so many different styles, colors, brands, etc. that I couldn't tell you which one is essential. All I know is that  every person should own a watch. Not only are they stylish, they're also quite helpful- reminding you of what time or day it is, especially if you are in the workforce- you need to own a watch. I myself, have 4 watches- but I really only wear 1 all the time; my Michael Kors Chronograph Resin Ladies watch in white (Model MK5187). I absolutely love this watch. I'd say it's one of my key pieces :) I originally got this watch on for $202.50, I'm not sure how much the piece actually retailed for. $200 for a watch is expensive, but I assure you- quality is better than quantity. I bought this piece over a year ago, I wear it just about every day, I've yet to change the battery or send it in for repairs- so spending big bucks on it is no longer a concern. Whether its designer or non name brand, a watch is a must!!!

Don't be afraid to add a little extra to your otherwise stellar ensemble. Sometimes it's the jewelry and accessories that can make an outfit. Have fun with it, and if you're ever in a rut- just remember the essentials. Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

D.I.Y. Fashion

DIY. Do It Yourself Fashion Projects are one of my latest obsessions. Next to my hidden desire to design clothes one day, (I have the sketches to prove it) this is the next best thing!! DIY is an easy, fun and creative way to recreate or freshen up your wardrobe without breaking the bank. Ways in which you can re-vamp your wardrobe include: the cutting, sewing, dying, bleaching, embellishing, even spray painting of clothes and/or shoes, to name a few. I started with a simple idea, and it was from there that this hobby began. Since then I've recycled shirts, pants, handbags and my upcoming project, shoes ;) Here are just a few of the items I've already D.I.Y'ed.

The Black Scarf: For me, this is where it all began. I wanted a black scarf for an outfit I was putting together, but didn't have one. So rather than going out and spending at least $15 on a new one, I thought, "Why not dye one I already have but don't really wear?" So that's what I did. I did my research on how to go about dying a garment, what kind of dye to use, etc. I chose Tulip's Permanent Fabric Dye in black ($2.49 at Wal-Mart, but is also available at most fabric and craft stores). I went home, experimented, and loved the results. This project was incredibly easy. There are a couple of ways to dye fabric, i.e., the bucket or the stove. I used the bucket method. This is achieved by combining the packet of dye in a cup of hot water, stirring first before adding this mixture to the bucket of hot water. You want to make sure the dye has dissolved completely before submerging the garment. When the dye was ready, I set the scarf in the bucket and let soak for a couple of hours- making sure to stir frequently for the first 15 minutes and then occasionally for the remainder of the time. After it had soaked, I rinsed with cold water and let dry. Pretty simple right? *Side note- the packet suggests soaking for 30-45 minutes, but I ended up dying the fabric twice and soaking for longer time periods because I wanted the scarf to be jet black. None the less, I was impressed because I had transformed my scarf from light grey to classic black, all while saving money hunnay! 


The White Skinny: Who says you can't wear white after labor day??? I agree with this statement in regards to shoes, but clothes on the other hand are a different matter. White pants in the winter are actually quite fashionable in my opinion. They get noticed in the sea of grey, brown and black you see every other woman wearing during those cold months. And who doesn't like to get noticed? But I detract; the white skinny-I've always wanted a pair, but never found any I liked.That is until I decided to make my own. I took a pair of grey skinnys I've had for a while- but never really wore and turned them white by bleaching them. The jeans are from Wet Seal, and I believe they were somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-$20. This project was so easy and cost effective because bleach is something almost everybody has at home. Some methods call for bleaching in a bucket of sorts, but I bleached mine in the washing machine. I recommend this method because it's mess and error free since you wash your whites with bleach in the machine to begin with. I filled the basin about half way up with hot water, poured 5-6 cups of bleach in, and washed for at least 30 minutes. You can repeat this cycle if the garment doesn't come out as white as you like the first time- but remember, bleach reacts with fabric in the first 15-20 seconds of contact. After the wash cycle has completed, put the garment on the rinse cycle in cold water. After the rinse cycle, wash the garment with a little detergent and a little fabric softener to combat the bleach- and let dry. And voila! you now have white skinnys. You'll notice that on mine the grey stitching remained even though I bleached the pants entirely. That is, because most garments we purchase are constructed with a polyester thread, and polyester thread can not retain color if dyed or bleached. There are ways to alter this but they are time consuming and expensive. Soooooo, I'm stuck with grey stitching, but I happen to like the contrast.


The Elastic Dilemma: This bubble top from Forever 21, I've had a long time now. It originally had 3/4 length bubble sleeves- but not too long ago those elastic bands broke and I was left with terrible baggy sleeves. I've always liked this top, but stopped wearing it after this particular incident. The other day though, I decided to fix my sleeve problem, and it turns out the top is so much cuter now that I've altered it. All I did was shorten the sleeves, and I achieved this by turning the shirt inside out, cuffing the sleeve up to the inside hem and sewing the two hems together. It doesn't matter what color thread you use since you're sewing on 2 inside seams- no one will ever see it :) Now my top has these cute sort of poofy cap sleeves, and thanks to this quick fix, I like the top even more so than when I bought it! Again, another easy fix that you can do on your own and saves you money. No more trips to the seamstress!


So you see, the possibilities of recycling your clothes into something you'd be more likely to wear are endless. So think about it the next time you're ready to throw out or donate old clothes and/or shoes- get creative and get to it! Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

Orange County Goodies

An old friend was recently visiting the LA area- so Joey and I drove up to see her. After our visit, we explored the area a bit and got some good shopping in!!! Here are a few of the items I picked up. *Side note: all items are from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Ca.

I've had a gift card to Forever 21 that I've been trying to use for a while. Finally!!!! At this particular store, I found the cutest printed baby doll top!!! The price ranged somewhere between $15-$18 (I can't remember off the top of my head). I'm really big on prints, but not so much prints that are hard on the eyes. I.e., obnoxiously multi-colored ones. I like to stick with prints that can be worn for different occasions: a presentation at school, a day in the office, a luncheon, etc. The sizing ran fairly big- normally I would wear a size up at this store, but the smaller size fit pretty well. What I love most about these style of tops is that they are extremely roomy and comfortable- you don't feel restricted in them, which is a huge plus :) 

I also love the pockets on the front of the garment. This feature adds dimension to the top by breaking up the monotony of what could have easily been a solitary piece. It's cute, comfortable and multi-fucntional; such a good deal!

The next item is my new ruby red nail polish by Butter LONDON in the color Chancer. It retails for $14 and I got mine at Nordstrom- another one of my favorite stores. Nail polish is an absolute MUST for me. I think a freshly manicured hand is always in style (the same goes for feet). I've always heard good things about this brand, but this was the first time trying it out- and I must say, I like it a lot!  $14 is pricey- but you get what you pay for. The color goes on nice and dries super quick- which is a good thing for girls on the go. I used 2 coats and set it with a clear top coat. Very very impressed with this one!

Lastly, my new mascara from Smashbox- the Lash DNA in Jet Black. It's said to condition, lengthen, curl and repair former lash damage. I got it from Nordstrom Rack for only $8.97- originally $19 at Sephora and Now I'm notorious for trying out tons of mascara. I'd say I buy at least 2 different ones every month or so, which is a lot considering one should last about 3 months. By far, my favorite mascara as far as formula and effect, has been Buxom's Buxom Lash ($19). After trying Lash DNA though, this is my new favorite and for only $9, I'm sold! 

There's so much more I would have liked to look at while we were out, but it was so hot that day that it tired me out. For now, I'm happy with the things I was able to pick up- there's always next time. Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

Summer Favorites

Creature of habit. Do you ever notice how you use certain products during the different seasons? Some might use a specific lip product during the winter to prevent dry, cracked lips. Others paint their nails with the cutest pastel shades during the spring. And some might lather on yummy pumpkin or cranberry lotions during the fall. I think we all do it. At least, I know I do. Which brings me to the point of today's blog: 2 of my favorite/most frequently used makeup products of the summer. Both of which are face products, time savers, and completely interchangeable. "What is she talking about", you might be asking yourself. Well, let me explain...

The first product is Sephora's Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 15 and Vitamin E, in the shade Bronze. *Disclaimer: this item was discontinued sometime last year. I actually got it in the clearance section, for I believe $8- originally $16. Sephora has since released another tinted moisturizer- Perfectly Tinted Mositurizer with SPF 20 ($21). Both moisturizers are also oil free. 

Why I lovvveee this product for the summer is because not only is it a moisturizer with built in SPF, but it's also tinted so I use it in place of my liquid foundation. It's lightweight, so it doesn't feel cakey or heavy like a foundation could, especially during the summer months when you might sweat more easily and have to re-apply. It protects you from the sun's rays and saves time during your daily routine of getting ready. Or as I like to call it, "hair and makeup" ;)  Because it's a moisturizer and not a foundation, it soaks into your skin, so I find that I don't even have to use a loose powder to set it. I'm sure the new product Sephora has is very similar to this one, so I suggest picking one up- I think you'll love it just as much as I do. 

The second product is the Beauty Blender sponge available only at ($19 each, or 2 for $25). I had heard lots of things about this technique of using the beauty blender to apply foundation, and I wanted to try it myself. I love this little sponge. It does wonders and makes your foundation, or tinted moisturizer :) look flawless. I got the 2 blender deal, and it came with a sample cleanser for the sponges. Obviously you can see that the sponge is quite compressed when dry but expands when wet- as is the way you use it to apply your face makeup. The rounded end is intended for coverage of larger areas of the face; cheeks and jaw bone. The pointed end is for coverage of the smaller areas of your face that require more precision; inner corners of the eyes and in between the eyebrows. Simply dab foundation all over your face, dampen the sponge, squeeze out the excess water and dab on top of the foundation for even coverage. Previously I used a pointed kabuki brush to apply foundation, but after using the beauty blender, there is no going back. The beauty blenders are easy to work with, are time savers and I also think they're better to use on your face because they're much softer than brushes. Just be sure to wash your beauty blender every 3-4 uses. Aside from the cleanser that comes with the sponges, you can also use a mild anti-bacterial soap and water to clean.

The third product is HOT MAMA! by the Balm ($19) also from Sephora. It's an eye shadow and blush all in one-hence the interchangeable part. I use it strictly as a blush. I got this product last summer because I saw it on one of their displays and the color was just gorgeous to me. 

It's described as a peachy pink shimmer, but don't let the shimmer part scare you! I don't see it as being an overbearing shade at all. In fact, when applied it gives your cheeks a healthy sun-kissed glow. Just be careful not to build the color up too much, you don't want your sun-kissed glow to look completely fake, especially in the summer ;) To prevent from cake-i-ness or build up try applying the color with a stippling brush; it will give the product a more air brushed, flawless finish. 

So there you go my little sun bunnies- just a few of my favorite summertime products. I hope some of these tips were helpful and I hope you bust out some of your favorites and get glammed up too. Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO


My recent makeup obsession: Urban Decay's Naked palette. In my opinion this is the holy grail of all neutral palettes! It's $48 and available from retailers such as Urban, Sephora/ as well Let me preface this by saying the Naked palette is extremely hard to come by, some retailers even limit the amount you can purchase at a time. It is one of Urban Decay's more popular products, and although the price may seem steep for eye shadow, let me assure you that it's well worth it! With its original release, the palette came with a mini sized Urban Decay Primer Potion (UDPP) in Original and a dual sided 24 7 eye pencil in Whiskey (brown) and Zero (black). Since the palette's return this spring it too, comes with a mini sized UDPP in Original but instead of the eye pencil, it comes with a flat shadow brush. I know the 24 7 eye pencils are sold separately and I'm almost positive the brush is too. I believe I heard somewhere that the brush itself is in the neighborhood of $26, so getting it in the palette that comes with 12 different shades for $48 is such a bargain! 

The shades are extremely pigmented- so a little goes a long way. I've had this palette for a couple of months, I use it just about every day, and it still looks like I've barely touched it. I love that! The shades from left to right are: Virgin, Sin, Naked, Sidecar, Buck, Half Baked, Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted, Hustle, Creep and Gunmetal. 

My favorite shade: Buck, because it matches my skin tone perfectly and makes for a very beautiful blending color. 

My least favorite shade: Sidecar, for the simple fact that it has too much glittery fall out. None the less, it is a pretty color. 

What I love most about this palette is its size. It is perfect for travel because you can fit it almost anywhere and all of the colors you would need for any occasion are in one place. No more searching at the bottom of your makeup bag! 

Whether you're headed out to work or on that first date, I suggest playing around with these colors, because there are SOOO many looks you can achieve!! So whaddaya waiting for??? Go for it hunnay! Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

Red Dot Boutique

Target. One of my most favorite stores. The other day my boyfriend Joey and I went shopping there, and while we intended to pick up a few groceries, I managed to walk away with a few clothing items :) My only saving grace however, is the fact that these items were inexpensive and a least 2 out of the 3 were! But who's counting?

Let's begin with the infamous little black dress.

This dress, by Xhilaration, is super cute and for $20 it can be worn in several different ways. Whether you're running errands or out on a date, this dress is a great option. While the dress itself is not altogether formal, it's a piece that can be dressed up or dressed down. Example #1: Just running around town? Wear this dress with a long necklace and a pair of slippers (some call them flip flops- but after living in Hawaii for a couple of years, this is the ONLY word I know them by)- and your look is complete. Example #2: Out on a date? Pair this dress with a shorter necklace, add a wide belt if you like, throw on a dressier sandal or wedge and there you go, you've got the perfect outfit for an evening out. It's a fashion must- every woman NEEDS a little black dress in her closet! *Side note- if you plan on buying a reasonably priced dress that's multi-functional, I suggest washing it in cold water with a detergent that's strictly for dark clothes. That way, it'll slow the process of fading your black dress and make it last longer. I use Woolite's Extra Dark Care detergent. 

Next item: the ever so useful legging. 

Leggings come in different lengths: knee, capri and ankle. I'm on the shorter side, so I go for the capri length. These leggings, by Mossimo Supply Co. are SOOO versatile...and comfy :) These too can be casual or dressy- simply add a pair of sneakers and a tee shirt and you can hit the gym, wear them with slippers and a tunic top and you're comfortably chic, or pair them with heels and a blazer and you're ready for drinks. Leggings are another must. Stick with the basics, grey and black to achieve a more slimming appearance. Watch out for the flashier colors, they can make you appear bigger than you actually are. And for $8 each why not pick up a couple pairs??

Lastly, the racer back nautical tank. 

I love this style of tank!! It's cute, comfortable and affordable. This tank, also by Mossimo Supply Co. was $14.99 and came in an array of colors. This top wasn't a necessity but I just couldn't resist. It's roomy, so you can wear it on the days you aren't feeling your skinniest- but frankly speaking, I'd wear it any day. And with summer upon us, this tank is very season appropriate!

The items I purchased I know I'll wear a lot of, which is how I justify most of my purchases anyway. Even if something is under $10 why buy it if you know you'll only wear it once? That's $10 that can go toward something you absolutely love and will wear often. Be smart ladies...and gents :) I'm not saying you shouldn't indulge every now and then in impulse shopping, but just remember that all those little purchases add up! Besides, it's not very fashionable if you have an amazing dinner outfit, but can' t afford the dinner. Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO

About Me

Hey Dolls! I'm Ali, I'm 25 and I live in sunny California :) I've created this blog and dedicated it to my love of everything Style, Beauty & Fashion. Let me begin though with a bit of background info...I grew up the youngest of three siblings; the only girl following two boys, which meant, the occasional hand me downs- YES, boy's hand me downs, as well as being the guinea pig for the new wrestling moves they wanted to try. Hey, at least I got my own bedroom growing up! But because of my special birth order, my parents made every attempt to keep me their baby girl for as long as possible. Don't get me wrong, I've always been intrigued by femininity and clothes and the obsession of must-have accessories, but as one might imagine, most of those things weren't always accessible to me. My parents forbade me from wearing the wide-legged flare jeans that every girl in the 7th grade was wearing. I wasn't allowed to cut my waist long hair until I was 13. I couldn't wear make-up or date until I was 16. My parents were very traditional, and although I didn't always understand their rules- I appreciate them now, the older I get. That isn't to say that I always listened to them. There's been a time or two, when my parents caught me wearing bright red lipstick..and boy did I pay the price!!! To this day, I still don't own any red lipstick- although I believe it is a shade every woman should have in her collection. It wasn't until I spent the summer of my 13th year with my grandmother that changed it all. You see, my grandmother- like any grandmother gave me all the things my parents wouldn't. She spoiled me, from the clothes I liked, to the haircut I wanted, and even to my first nailpolish that wasn't either clear or baby pink. I liked being girly, so with the money my grandmother would give me, I continued buying all the clothes, shoes and purses that would fit in my suitcase. When I returned home with a new wardrobe, shorter hair, and a new ear piercing, I was a little nervous to say the least. However, I couldn't un-pierce my ear, or re-attach my hair, there simply was no way I was giving up all the things my grandmother let me have. This was the new me :) High school came and went, college came and went, and during those times I kept up with trends- but I always made sure to throw in my sense of individuality; never forgetting that it's the person that makes the outfit, not the other way around :) When I started making my own money I realized that quality was better than quantity, although by the looks of my closet you'd think I wasn't so sure. I read somewhere that less is the new modern...Genius! Now I've always loved shoes, I honestly think it runs in my family's blood. I've always loved handbags, but two years ago I started getting really into makeup- and that is where this passion for fashion and style began. I became familiar with all sorts of products and brands, I became obsessed with them. More than fancy products and expensive labels though, what I love most about fashion and beauty is how easily they allow you to transform your look each day. And how both can make you stand out and call attention to the gorgeous self you truly are!!! So that is where this blog begins- sharing with the world my opinion on all things fabulous- from products I use on a daily basis, to things I can not live without, where I shop and the latest trends I'm obsessed with. I hope you all enjoy my little world. Till then, stay fabulous! XOXO