July 31, 2012

When you're with child...

As in incubating a tiny human, your style changes a bit. I'm not insinuating that your intended style and preferences change. No no, what you can physically wear changes. And it changes pretty early on.

I'm by no means an expert on maternity fashion. I've only been with child for 4-5 months now. But, in the early-ish weeks of pregnancy (6-15 weeks) many women will deal with a host of baby related bodily goodies. This can range from morning sickness, to a substantial amount of bloat, to an early showing of a baby bump. Your jeans may be tight.  You may feel like anything even remotely constricting your belly will make you toss your cookies. You may look you have a muffin top...or shall I rename it a baby top? Whatever. You have to adjust now and for the next number of months before the kid makes its official arrival.

Now that we're all caught up to speed, if you know of someone who is pregnant, looking to become pregnant or simply has a soft spot for those who are, feel free to peruse my take on helpful early-pregnancy fashion. For the rest of you, don't fret, this blog will not morph into one that is solely maternity and baby focused. Shopping, fashion cravings and product reviews are here to stay.

Some critical items for early-ish pregnancy (for many, this means the 1st trimester):
  • Vests: Yep. Something you can actually wear now and later as it's not constricting! Add some color and flavor to your ensemble.
  • Button down shirts: You may want to buy up on size because of your impending bump. I've been loving on GAP's chambray snap button shirt as of late. I'll wear this item until I can't snap it anymore and then start wearing it open with skinny jeans, etc.
  • Scarves: When your belly is at the crossroads of "perceived beer gut" and "little baby bump", scarves are your BFF. Wrap and drape at will.
  • Low rise anything: Leggings, workout shorts, jeggings, and more. If said bottom can fit under the blossoming belly, it's a winner. I had to nix my awesome, 70s inspired mid-rise flare jeans pretty early on.
  • Belly band: An item that can be found at many a maternity store, Target, etc. This snazzy belly bandeau keep your jeans or shorts up (and the fasteners down) when you can properly button every button or zip every zipper.
  • Comfortable bras: Whether you buy a coobie, a soft sports bra or go for a sweet microfiber nursing bra, you'll want comfort for your sisters. At all times. When you sleep, when you walk around your house, when you go out to dinner. Yes, you will likely want to go wire free.

Here's to many fashionable and comfortable months ahead, ladies!

July 25, 2012

Product Review: Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer, B+

When your skin leads a revolt against you - due to weather, hormones, age - you're left with little choice. I'm a big believer in tried and true skincare regimens and keeping your epidermis healthy and all, but sometimes that's just not going to cut it. Thus the need for concealer.

A few months back I trotted over to Sephora to pick up Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer to camouflage a few not-so-discreet visitors on my face. The $32 price tag (for .5 ounces) can certainly cause some sticker shock, but yo, I needed some serious reinforcements. I tested out a few different shades (definitely test out the shades before you pull the trigger), plucked #6 from the shelf, paid and went on my merry way.

About MUFE Full Cover Concealer via Sephora:

What it is:
An ultra long-lasting, matte finish, oil-free, waterproof, full coverage concealer.

What it is formulated to do:
Designed to cover major imperfections like scars, hyperpigmentation, major discoloration, burns, and tattoos. This light and creamy concealer contains a high concentration of pigments that stay put, making it perfect for use on the face, as well as the body.

Clinical Testing/Results:
Clinically tested on sensitive skin and dermatologically controlled for gentleness. Sephora is the exclusive beauty retailer for this product.

My Review:

The Good: It's thick but buildable and does a really nice job of hiding imperfections and blemishes. I highly recommend using a concealer brush or your ring finger to gently tap it into the problem area and build upon it with one more light layer for extra coverage. Don't fret - it doesn't cake up on you. It also comes in a variety of shades for almost any skin tone.

The Bad: $32 is a helluva lot for concealer. And while it does last through most of the day, I'm not sure how it would hold up over hyperpigmented areas or tattoos.

The Verdict: B+. It has been my (facial) saving grace as of late. The consistency is nice, the coverage is adequate and it's definitely what I needed.

July 17, 2012

A Note About Makeup and Aminal Testing

Over the past few years, I've become increasingly aware of the products I put on and in my bod. This includes the expected things - food, sunscreen, medication etc. And while I do a decent job of checking labels and such,  I feel like I could do a better job purchasing cosmetics and skincare from companies that don't test on animals. Frankly, I feel like we've gotten far enough as a society (scientific advancements and such) that we probably don't need Mr. Bunny's eyes to test out mascara. Just my two cents.

Is every makeup item in my bag cruelty-free? No, I'm sure not. However, I would like to be more intentional regarding my future beauty care purchases. I like animals and I'd very much prefer that boatloads of companies didn't test on their furry little faces and bodies.

This is by no means a plight to ask all blog readers to pitch every makeup product in her arsenal aif it's not created by a cruelty free company. It's just my overarching intention on shopping more carefully. If you're looking for a solid resource on which companies test on animals, check out PETA's easy-to-use database of cruelty free companies where you can get your search on. And for those with a smartphone, there's a pretty great app called Cruelty-Free where you can search said companies and products while you're on the go. It's not quite as robust as PETA's list, but it's a nice tool to have in your pocket. 

That being said, here's a quick set of some of my fave products, all from companies that do not test on our furry friends!

July 9, 2012

It's Hella Hot: What Do You Wear?

I think one of the most difficult times to put together an outfit is right about...now. It's hella hot outside. Yeah, some temps may have settled back into the 80s for a few days, but friends, the 90s will be coming back soon. And I don't mean Ace of Base or Pearl Jam.

When the mercury hits the triple digits, you have a few choices:

1) Don't leave the house.

2) Leave the house naked or semi-naked and run the risk of burning your arse on your car seats and/or getting arrested.

3) Dressing accordingly and coolly.

I'm sure we can all agree that option number three is the most desirable, especially if you yearn to live outside your own walls and those of a cell. Thus, here's a set of some cool clothing that perfectly intermixes for those it's-so-hot-my-body-is-going-to-combust kinda days.

What's your go-to ensemble for insanely hot weather?

July 3, 2012

Product Review: TheBalm Stainiac, B+

I'm a Stainiac....Staaaaaaaainiac on the floor...

Now that song will be in your head all.day.long. I'm sorry...or, you're welcome?

Yes, a few weeks back a lovely lip and cheek stain, Stainiac in Beauty Queen, made its way into my June Birchbox. I've not only been replaying She's A Maniac in my head but I've also become quite a fan of this sweet little stain. You can find this product on a variety of sites: Birchbox, Amazon, etc. The .3 fl oz sponge wand tube retails for $13-$17.

Details from Birchbox:
Birchbox Breakdown:
You wouldn’t know it from the state of our makeup drawer, but we’re actually beauty minimalists. Our motto: Why use two products when you can get the same effect with one? This two-in-one lip and cheek stain gives us a natural, understated flush and helps us get out the door faster. The gel formula looks dark in the tube but delivers a sheer tint. It comes in three shades that complement all skin tones: Beauty Queen is a magenta-toned pink, Prom Queen is a lovely rose pink, and Homecoming Queen is a dewy peach.

How it Works 
The tinted gel leaves a lasting stain on lips and cheeks. Since it’s water-based, it has a longer setting time than most quick-dry stains, which means it won’t leave any unsightly streaks behind as long as you take care to blend well. Use a single coat for a subtle look or layer it on for a more visible (yet still discreet) hue.

How to Use
The handy wand makes applying this stain a breeze. Swipe onto your lips as you would a regular lip gloss. To use as a cheek stain, smile and dab two or three dots onto the apples of your cheeks. Gently blend the pigment into your cheeks using small circular motions.

My Review:

The Good: Beauty Queen, although dark in the tube, leaves a really lovely pink flush on my cheeks and lips. It's easy to use, quick to apply and you do have a bit of time to work it in before it sets. Also, I see a fair amount of value in the tube as you really don't need much to create a color impact.

The Bad: You do have to work it in. And you certainly have to wash your hands immediately after use otherwise you'll have magenta fingertips for a few hours.

The Verdict: B+. I really love a dual use product that actually offers equal payoff for both cheeks and lips. Beauty Queen is lovely and lightweight and frankly quite perfect for the summer months when you feel like everything on your face is melting.