Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stuff I'm Obsessed With at the Moment

An update! So much has happened to me since I began this blog. I had super high hopes that I would update all the time, and I think I was off to a good start, but so much changed in my life (for the better!) and it kind of fell to the back burner! After logging back in after almost a year and seeing that my blog has had more than 8000 hits, I am thinking I started a good thing here and I want to keep going!

So as a little re-intro, I want to just post a little bit of what I'm into lately--a little random hodgepodge of STUFF I LIKE. Because, you know, you didn't ask, but I'm going to tell you anyway!

It has been WAY too long since I went shopping, and I went to Mall of America last weekend with my homegirl and they have opened a COLOSSAL Forever 21 in part of Bloomingdales' old space. Seriously crazy. I spent about 2 hours in there and didn't see nearly everything I wanted to. What did I score? Not as much as I hoped. The plus size section, while slightly bigger, left a little to be desired. The clothes were cute, but it was like they had the same items hung in several different places, so there is room for much more going on there. My favorite purchase? These leggings, which appear to no longer be available on their website, but surely the stores still have! Can't wait to wear them!

Dangerous Palette by Urban Decay

The next stop was my all time favorite, Sephora, where I scored the Urban Decay Dangerous eyeshadow palette. It has 6 super vivid, sparkly shadows, and they are all actually shades I would wear, which sometimes is difficult for me to find in a palette. I usually can't justify the cost unless it weighs out in my favor. Many of Urban Decay's palettes are a MAJOR bargain though. Usually it's about $18 for one shade, and I got the Dangerous palette with all 6 shades for $36 and it included a mini Naked Lip Junkie lip gloss as well. Super great deal. Plus a had a gift card from my lovely mama, so it cost me nothing, in reality! It's really hard for me to buy any other brand of eyeshadow now. I love that Urban Decay is vegan and the pigmentation is amazing.

The worst thing about winter for me is dry, itchy skin, especially on my legs! I used to be obsessed with Benefit's Bathina lotion, but they discontinued it and I was devastated! Then I discovered Olive Body Butter from The Body Shop and it is almost identical to Benefit's old product and it's about half the price. The only problem is that I'm currently OUT and we are in the midst of some of the coldest, driest days of winter right now! The only 2 stores left in MN are at the airport (past security) and at the Mall of America and that store is currently closed for remodeling so I guess I will have to order online for now! It has a clean, light scent and it leaves my legs feeling soft, moisturized and with a nice shine!

I think that's enough obsessing for now. I'm going to try to post once a week, hopefully. I miss it!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Product Review! Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips

I have never been so in love with a product for my nails. I'm the girl who has EVERY SINGLE nail polish color imaginable. It's not really in my budget to get manicures every week, or even every month, so I usually try to do whatever I can to make my nails look nice at home. My natural nails are always a mess, and somehow I would ALWAYS mess up my polish on at least one nail before it was fully dry. 

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips
I first fell in love with some of the designs available in the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips: houndstooth, glitter, leopard and zebra print, lace, etc, but I was skeptical that these strips would be worth the money. I tried out a less expensive version one time and they did not work out at all, and I ended up removing them right away. I decided to just go for it one day after hearing a good review on the Sally Hansen strips from a friend. Oh. My. Gosh. I am so addicted to these things now. I tried the first set in the beginning of August, and it has now been nearly 4 months and I have had one of the designs on my nails ever since. They are about $10 per package at regular price, but I have been lucky to find some great sales and Sally Hansen coupons to bring the price down to less than $8 sometimes at Target.

The box says that one application of the strips can last up to 10 days. Mine usually last about a week before they start to chip, which is amazing to me. I do work in a school and wash my hands a lot, and use lotion a lot, so that could have some effect on the wear time, but I still think a week is impressive for a DIY nail job. 

The application is super easy. You just match the strip to your nail size and cuticle shape and stick the sticker on. It's stretchy and forms nicely to your nail. I always cut the excess off and use the extra pieces to do my kids' nails. Some people have said you can save the extra pieces in an airtight container, but when I tried to do that, they dried up for me. So now I just do my girls' nails on the same night I do mine, so I get more for my money!

Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in "Check it Out"
I get SO many compliments on them, too! People say, "Oh my gosh! How did you do your nails? I LOVE them!" The kids at the school I work at are always impressed. "Ms. Jessica I LOVE your nails!" The patterns are so fun and really fit my style and personality. I can't believe how many good things I have to say about them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Product Review! L'Oreal True Match Foundation

Normally, foundation is one product that I don't skimp on in my beauty budget. A flawless base is important to achieving the right look, and a lot of drugstore brand foundations have not really provided me with a smooth, blended look. Sometimes they look streaky, too thick, powdery or even like you slathered your face with chocolate milk. I won't mention any of those brands, since they aren't worth my time! Money does get tight, but that doesn't mean I'm going to go without foundation! So that's why when Kandee Johnson, my favorite beauty guru recommended L'Oreal True Match, I knew I had to give it a try. I never know how reliable advice is from some gurus because I know they get perks and sometimes even compensation for touting certain products and brands, but I always figure it's worth a shot!

I picked up a bottle of the L'Oreal True Match and tried it out for the first time on a night I was going out, so I knew it would be a true test of lasting all night. I was very impressed with the quality and consistency, given the price (about $9). It is a lightweight, super blendable liquid and I would say the coverage was pretty good for a drugstore brand. I used it in conjunction with my Benefit Erase Paste concealer, and I was happy with the coverage it gave. It definitely lasted all night, too.

I went to see my friend's band reunion concert, and I did I fun, kind of 80s inspired look. Nothing too dramatic, but it was a bit of an escape from my everyday look. I think the L'Oreal True Match gave me a healthy, dewy glow. I have continued to use it ever since I bought it, and I think I will continue to buy it for now! Anyone else have drugstore brand foundation recommendations or requests for reviews? Post them in the comments!
Me with my hunny, trying out L'Oreal True Match for the first time

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Holiday Weekend OOTD!

My first OOTD (outfit of the day) edition is going to be a fun one! My personal style is very much inspired by pin-up girl fashion, and I'm not ashamed to say that it can border on cutesy/costume-y at times, but I think I was fairly tame this 4th of July weekend. It was all about the SHOES this year!

On Saturday, I attended a backyard bbq with some great friends, good food and drinks and lots of fun! Here's what I wore! I chose to forego jewelry, since I don't really enjoy wearing it when it's hot and sweaty outside!
Dress-Walmart (!), shoes and purse-Harajuku Lovers
Normally I don't really give Walmart's clothing department a second look, but this little dress caught my eye when I went to pick up groceries! It's surprising, too, because I normally don't buy or wear blue. I fell in love and dropped everything else I was doing to try this on. What I love most: You can wear it a whole bunch of different ways, depending on how you tie the sash--it's like 10 dresses in one. I think I will get many wears from this one! I paired it with my favorite nautical-inspired wedges from Harajuku Lovers--my feet wanted to be patriotic, too!
Nautical Wedges, Harajuku Lovers

On Monday, we were off to another backyard bbq, followed by fireworks in downtown St. Paul. We had a prime spot with a gorgeous view of the river! I wore one of my favorite dresses; here's a picture taken with my little princesses...
Dress-Torrid, Shoes-Harajuku Lovers
I took the opportunity to break in a recently-acquired pair of wedges, also from Harajuku Lovers. These babies are TALL, yet very comfortable despite the ultra-high platform. They are definitely the tallest and some of the most adorable shoes I own. Yes, those are little plastic ants crawling up the sides of the "basket". Too cute!
Picnic wedges, Harajuku Lovers
I hope you all had a fun, safe holiday weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Haute Headbands

Headbands are my favorite accessory, hands down! I don't know what it is, but I just feel finished when I go all Blair Waldorf. Thanks in large part to the sassy Gossip Girl star, this accessory is an easy-to-find, and just plain easy, trend.

I scoured Etsy for some of the best designs, and perhaps even inspiration for a do-it-yourself project! Craft stores like Joann Fabrics and Michaels have added hair accessory sections for some easy DIY creations. Another idea is picking up a cheap base headband from Target or a dollar store and adding your own special touches!

Here are some of my favorites!

Nicole Ritchie rocks a sexy 60s inspired 'do by adding a scarf.
A flapper-esqe black bow design from ohmama's Etsy shop.

Bridal or just beautiful with a vintage feel from judithlaurendesign's Etsy shop.

Cutesy hearts to bring out your inner child from KristynAnn77's Etsy shop.

A flash of florescent from twolittlewren's Etsy shop.

A sophisticated starburst fit for a queen from thecrystalrose's Etsy shop.

Simple and pretty in pink from CastleMemories' Etsy shop.

This selection is representative of all price ranges, and a I chose to feature some Etsy because I love handmade items. I have had great luck finding adorable headbands at Forever21 and Target as well. My daughters have been begging me to make them some feathery hair goods, and I hope to make some fun things for myself as well!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Product Review Alert! TRESemmé Color Revitalize Shampoo & Conditioner

I'll admit it; I'm a bit of a hair snob. I consider it to be one of my best assets, since I was blessed with a ton of super-thick hair that is generally in healthy condition. I have been a loyal user of Biolage products over the past three years, because it kept my hair soft and protected my hair color at the same time.

I was skeptical, then, when I was given the opportunity to try the new TRESemmé Color Revitalize Shampoo and Conditioner. I have never been impressed with any "drug store brand" shampoos or conditioners,  so I pretty much expected the same results from TRESemmé. When I first received the products, my hair was in desperate need of a color touch up. Since I have been growing it out over the past year or so, I had also noticed some split ends, so I wasn't really expecting miracle results.

The first use was definitely impressive! Even though it had not been colored in 6 weeks, my hair had that soft, silky, just-colored feeling and texture. I was happy just with those results, but figured I better reserve my actual opinion for when I had a chance to use it on freshly colored hair to see how the color protection worked. 

My color touch up was almost 2 weeks ago, when  I reviewed the Clairol Nice & Easy Color Foam. I have been using the TRESemmé since then, and I have not noticed any fading. My hair is still shiny and soft like I just colored it. Another thing I noticed is that I didn't get a lot of the color washout in my first post-color washing. For those familiar with hair color, you know that you usually see a lot of color in the water upon your first washing. I only had a tiny amount when I used these products.

I know we are all on a budget these days, so if you are a hair snob looking to shave your beauty budget, these are definitely worth a try at about $4.49 per bottle.

Disclaimer: As a member of BzzAgent, I did receive products to try. I always express my honest opinion and never recommend anything that I don't personally love. You can try out new products, too, by becoming a member!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No-Fear Swimsuit Shopping!

I've noticed a trend in fashion magazines like lately... There will be a guide to buyiing something like a swimsuit or a pair of jeans based on your body type (busty, boy-shaped, pear-shaped, etc). While I'm glad that it seems there has been more of an effort to include a "plus-size" option, this assumes that all plus-sized women are the same shape! Why can't plus styles just be incorporated into the different types they offer? Beautè Gras is here to help.

While doing some suit-scouring of my own, I found some super cute plus options that will work for an assortment of shapes. Here are my faves, and I have tried to include a range of budgets as well!


$123.20 @ Lane Bryant!
I love the pattern of this suit from Lane Bryant. A suit with built-in undrewire gives you the ability and support to wear a sexy, slightly plunging neckline without spilling out of your suit! The muted pattern gives you an all over balance.

$34.80 @ Forever 21!
The sweetheart neckline on this cute little nautical number provides the cup-coverage that you need when you are blessed with a little extra on top. The cross-back straps give you extra support.

Apple Shaped:

$34.80 @ Forever 21!
 This stylish tankini from Forever 21 has the perfect splash of yellow to help the illusion of a curvier waist and the black bottom against the zebra print creates contrast for more separation and definition of a curvier figure overall.

$24.99 @ Target!
I know, I know, this is another zebra print, but it just happens to be perfect for apple shapes, too! The shape of the print/color blocking on the front of the top helps create the illusion of a curvier shape.

Pear Shaped:
$34.80 @Forever 21!
This tankini from Forever21+ has colorful stripes and a cute peephole and tie detail to draw the eye to the top, and the skirted bottom provides coverage for an ample bottom! This is a very youthful choice, which is nice to see in a plus style, where skirted bottoms generally look matronly.

$32 at Walmart!
How retro-cute is this?? I'm loving the teal, but it even comes in black, red, and leopard print too! (I have it in red AND leopard, ooh la la!) The detail at the bust line draws the eye upward and the ruching across the tummy helps accentuate a narrower waist. Flaunt those curves!

$24.99 @ Target!
Of course hourglass shapes come in all sizes, but the commonality among them is that the waist is a the narrowest point with pretty balanced top and bottom. This suit from Target allows you to pull off a cute print while still accentuating your narrower waist with the strategically placed pattern/print.

$103.60 @ Lane Bryant!
The angled ruching on this adorable polka dot suit is perfectly placed to define an hourglass figure. This particular suit has underwire and slimming technology for extra support and comfort as well.

$48.30 @ Torrid!
Zebra print, again! The v-neck and fringe detail on this literally point to the place we want to most accentuate with this saucy suit!

Happy shopping!