Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Look More Beautiful Without Botox, Plastic Surgery, or Makeup

There is one thing guaranteed to make you feel more refreshed and look more beautiful...and it doesn’t require botox, plastic surgery, or even makeup: Go on holiday. There’s nothing like a spa getaway to just relax and get your skin glowing like a radiant angel. What better time than now to go on all inclusive holidays? It’s the ultimate stress-reducer!

My idea of a spa getaway is to go to far-distant, exotic places like Egypt. I’ve been researching the Sunrise Mamlouk in Egypt - a palace resort with its own private, sandy beach. Other resort features include swimming pools, a beach bar, a buffet restaurant, outdoor activities such as tennis and snorkeling, and more. I can just imagine and feel all the tension leave my body just from writing this!

The best part, of course, is the spa with massage, sauna, whirlpool, and steam bath. I’m intrigued with Sunrise Mamlouk’s spa package called the “Cleopatra Day” where you experience a unique bath ritual. Afterwards, you receive a relaxing massage using a special blend of honey, milk, almonds and oatmeal. Ahhh...bliss!

Turkey is another place I’d love to visit. An all inclusive holiday to this country is actually very affordable. The Batihan Hotel has its own private beach, a fitness center (have to work out after all those buffet meals!), a plethora of sports and water activities, and a spa where you can sit in the sauna or enjoy a Turkish bath and massage. Afterwards you can disco the night away in the hotel club. How’s that for a relaxing holiday?

Consider a holiday or vacation an investment in your health and well-being. Studies have shown that going on holiday can lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system, help you live longer, and make you look so much more beautiful. So get to planning that holiday - and make sure to send me pictures!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I've Finally Realized the "Secret" to Looking Slimmer

Do you ever watch Red Carpet shows and wonder how all those women can look so good in their beautiful gowns? How do their bodies look so perfectly shaped like hourglasses?

Well, it’s all about the shapewear, girlfriend.

I, for one, have never really given shapewear much thought. Even when Spanx became very popular, I still paid no attention. When I did think about shapewear, I thought about women from back in the days who wore their corsets so tight that they couldn’t even breathe. Sorry, but I’d much rather breathe than have a slim-looking waistline.

I also used to think that wearing shapewear was “cheating”, or creating this illusion that your body is slimmer and shapelier than it actually is. Why not just be all-natural and be proud of that body? Well, let’s just say that my perspective has changed somewhat.

Now that I’m getting a little older, and my body is looking a little more, well...womanly, there are parts of my body that I would like to emphasize - like the waist area. I also have summer clothing like light-colored dresses and pants that I otherwise couldn’t wear unless I have special underwear. Little did I know that there were all these varieties of shapewear available nowadays....and I can breathe in them!

I came across this video on YouTube that shows you how to select the appropriate undergarments and shapewear for your body...

So now I’m ok with this “secret” to looking slimmer. If it’s helping to suck in that little pooch until these ab exercises I’m doing start to show their effects, then I’m all for it.

Next week I’ll be reviewing an innovative body shaper that is supposed to help burn calories and tone muscles. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

5 Fun and Sassy Evening Dresses I Love Right Now

Little black pencil dress
It’s official! I’m going to Miami next month for vacation. I’ve never been to Miami, but have heard so much about it. My friend has warned me, though. We might not get any sleep - which means I need to do some shopping for fun, night-on-the-town, party dresses. However, with my somewhat classic, no-fuss style, I’d much prefer to wear sophisticated evening dresses that I can wear for a long time.

I love this black pencil dress by South pictured here to the right. I guess technically it’s not an “evening dress” per se, but how can you go wrong with the tried-and-true little black dress? You can wear it with flats or heels. I would probably wear it with a pair of leopard print heels. That would add some fun for a night on the town in Miami, right?

This Robert Rodriguez dress is one part pretty and one part sassy! I like that it accents all of your curves. The beaded neckline adds a little pizazz so it’s not so plain. I seem to have this thing lately for dresses with full skirts.

Black Dresses by Robert Rodriguez at ShopStyle
My friend told me that women in Miami like to wear dresses with deep V-necks. I'm not so sure if I'm ready to show all that cleavage, but I do like this pink dress by BCBGeneration. The color will really enhance the tan I plan to get!
Evening Dresses by BCBG MAX AZRIA at ShopStyle

My favorite color is purple, so this evening dress by JS Boutique caught my eye. If we were to go out to a nice, fancy restaurant, I would definitely wear this dress. I like how it's draped with the sweetheart bodice.
Dresses by JS Boutique at ShopStyle

I usually don't like sequin dresses, but for whatever reason, I like this Badgley Mischka blush sequin dress. I can picture myself wearing this in a night club in Miami...
Evening Dresses by Badgley Mischka at ShopStyle

Beauty Affirmation Wednesday: I Am Priceless

"I love myself. I embrace my unique qualities. 
They're like a treasured work of art. I am priceless."

I discovered this beauty affirmation from DelicateWoman.com, a site full of affirmations and resources for women. They even offer a free mp3 audio or video download of "You Are a Beautiful Bouquet". Listen to it everyday to remind yourself of how precious you really are!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Budget Friendly Ways to Get into the Hottest Spring Looks

This is a guest post by Jenni Sunde...

The thing about fashion trends is that they come and go. So unless your budget knows no limits, buying new clothes every season may not be a viable option for you. For fashionistas that are pinching pennies, here are a few tips to help you stay stylish without breaking the bank.

Accessorize – A great way to appear on top of cutting edge trends without spending a fortune is to style with accessories; this spring stock up on classic add-ons like belts, bangles and stylish, discount sunglasses. By pairing plain, bright, separates that you already own with eye-catching accessories you go from drab to fab without compromising your budget. Try taking last spring’s maxi dress and opting to accessorize with a wrap-around belt. If you want to make a statement, bangles are relatively inexpensive, and piling them on will give you the bohemian look that was all-the-rage on the runways.

Plain Jane – As stated earlier, you can get stylish looks for cheap by recycling fashion that leans more on the minimalistic side. These basic tops, dresses and skirts will always keep you in fashion. By investing in classic pieces, there won’t be a need to buy new clothing every year. Ultimately, basics mean labels don’t matter, and you can work on accessorizing accordingly. Match a plain top with high-waisted shorts or wide leg trousers for a fun day look, or a sheer maxi dress with layered bangles for a fun evening look.

You’re a Shoe-In – Good thing for you 70s fashion is back. Clogs, platforms and wedges are everywhere this spring, so instead of shopping at high-priced department stores, hit up a local vintage shop and get one-of-a-kind looks that girls will be pining over. Back then it was all about quality over quantity, so whatever you spend on these throwback shoes you know they’re meant to last.

So before you spend your paycheck on expensive department store looks, think about how you can achieve those runway styles for cheap. By accessorizing with a few basic pieces and scouring vintage shops for classic gear that is once again in fashion, you will look good without spending tons of cash. Getting the perfect look this spring doesn’t mean designer labels, it simply means taking time to shop around and know your options.

About the author: Jenni Sunde is a freelance fashion writer and pop culture junkie, Jenni specializes in all things lifestyle-related. From home design to health and beauty, she loves sharing her thoughts about anything and everything. Her title pegs her as an editor at a website that specializes in providing people with information about careers in fashion, but her passion leads her into writing with a little more substance and a lot of heart.

Monday, May 23, 2011

3 Long Hairstyles To Try Out For Summer

Although it feels like we're still having winter weather in some parts of the world, summer is actually fast approaching. I've been planning a June vacation to Hawaii and Miami, which means everyday workouts to get bathing-suit ready, plus a new hair cut is much needed - actually, long overdue. When your everyday hairstyle consists of ponytails and buns, you know it's time for something new.

Right now my hair length is fairly long, but there's nothing special about it. It's just one length with bangs. I want to keep it the same length, but desire some pizazz...perhaps a hairstyle with layers and maybe add highlights. I guess there is so much I could do with my hair since it is long, but my problem is that I tend to get lazy.

I really love the boho chic-inspired look that ghd stylists created for Katy Perry, who, by the way, is one of my favorite musical artists.

I decided to try out this hairstyle to see how long it would take for me to put it together (20 minutes). Instead of two braids across my forehead, I opted for just one...

Right now the official ghd website is featuring hairstyles from iconic eras including "Glamour" and "New Wave" hairstyles. Visit GHD for tutorials and more hair style inspiration.

Another summer hairstyle trend I'm going to try out is the low, loose bun like this one (minus the hair net) from the Nina Ricci spring show...

I also like the "messy natural" look from the Thakoon spring show. This hairstyle should be pretty easy to pull off!

What are your favorite summer hairstyles?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Beauty Affirmation: Beautiful Just As I Am

Red Gerber
"  I remind myself everyday that 
I am beautiful just as I am."

Every morning that you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you are beautiful.

Every time you look through a beauty and fashion magazine, tell yourself that you are just as beautiful as those models and celebrities.

Every time someone makes a negative comment about you, tell yourself that you are beautiful.

Never forget who you truly are - a unique, beautiful woman...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Beauty Product Review: Satin Smooth Res-Q Ingrown Hair Treatment Mousse

Satin Smooth Res-Q Ingrown Hair Treatment Mousse
I heard or read an interesting statistic a few weeks ago - that close to 100% of women are self-conscious about their arm pits. I have to be honest and say that I am one of these women. The skin in this area is bumpy, blotchy, and I often get ingrown hairs....and when it comes to wearing sleeveless tops or dresses, I'm more worried about how my arm pits look than anything. Most women think about their flabby arms. Not me.

Well, summer is just around the corner and it will be time to wear all that cute sleeveless clothing again. So I decided to try out Satin Smooth's Res-Q Ingrown Hair Treatment Mousse which is specially made to treat ingrown hair, razor burns, bumps, and all those skin irritations.

I've been using the product for about a week now and I have noticed that the skin in my armpit feels much smoother. Even the "stubble" hairs feel soft.

You can use it on your neck, face, or bikini areas as well, but so far I've only used it on my underarms.

I have one warning, though. Make sure you wait at least 24 hours after you've shaved, waxed, or had laser hair removal before applying the mousse. I made the mistake of not reading the directions (which I often do) and used the mousse right after I shaved. I started to feel a little burning sensation.

Ingrown Hair Treatment PadsIf mousse products aren't your thing, Satin Smooth also has hair treatment pads with a creamy smooth formula.

Have you tried any of these products? How did they work for you?

Sneak Peek: Quench Bath & Body Products From Around the World

I like to support companies that empower women from all over the world. When I heard about Quench, I knew that I had to let you know about it...

Quench is a company that has developed bath and body products based on women's "secret" beauty concoctions. The company employs small companies and co-ops from native communities to foster fair trade.  All products are created with ingredients from their native lands.

Quench's founder, Shashi Srikantan, was introduced to natural beauty recipes at a young age, and since then she's had this passion to create unique bath and beauty products. You can find out more about Shashi and the birth of Quench in her blog post, The Origin and The Coneption.

I had the opportunity to try out a few of Quench's products including the Sandal Honey Body Wash and Body Butter (My favorite!) and the Tumeric Facial Wash and Facial Lotion. Not only are the products paraben-free, sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate-free, and petroleum-free, but they never use animal-based ingredients and are 100% cruelty-free. The company also donates 2% of sales to charity.

The Tumeric Facial Wash leaves my skin squeaky clean and smooth, but it has a slight floral fragrance to it. So if you're averse to fragrances in your beauty products, this product in particular may not work for you.

I also like how the Sandal Honey Body Butter leaves my skin feeling soft. I've never been to India, but when I first smelled this product, the first image that came to mind was a temple in India where women gathered to meditate and share stories.

Quench's full line of products will be officially launching on their website in early June. Stay tuned because I will be doing a giveaway for one of their gift sets around June 1st!

Until then, feel free to peruse their website to find out more about the company: http://www.quenchbathandbody.com

Friday, May 6, 2011

Spring Fashion To Do: White Out Trend

I wasn't able to participate in Pretty, Shiny, Sparkly's "Bloggers Do It Better" White Out challenge this week because I didn't have anything white in my closet and I didn't have the time to go shopping. All the white items I've ever owned before either had some kind of stain on it or just didn't look quite so white anymore.

When I did hear about the "White Out" Challenge, I immediately thought about H&M's Conscious Collection that consists of all these different pieces made with white organic cotton. My favorite piece, though, is the white recycled polyester dress pictured here. I hope it's still available because the more I think about it, the more I want it...

What I do own that is remotely close to white (they're actually more of a beige color) is this pair of Kushyfoot Flats-to-go ($9.99).

You may recall my review of these flats last year. I love them because I can fold them up and store them in my purse for those times when I'm wearing heels and need some foot relief. I can also wear them around the house or when I make a quick trip to the grocery store.

Today I was in a girly-girl mood so I wore these flats with a pair of Kushyfoot ivory lace foot covers. I like to think of them as lingerie for your feet...

If I were to purchase anything white to wear this spring, it would probably be a dress that I can lift up when I sit. White pants or shorts just seem like too much trouble - having to worry about where I sit and wearing the right underwear. With a dress I can wear a pair of boy shorts or even a pair of leggings.

What about you? Will you be trying out the White-Out trend this spring or summer?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Quotes and Thoughts on Beauty, Age, and Weight Loss

I apologize for not posting a beauty affirmation yesterday! Some unexpected writing projects came up this week that needed to be done. By the time I finished them last night (actually, this morning), I was too exhausted to post here.

However, what I will do today is offer a couple of my favorite beauty quotes from Daisy Fuente's book, Unforgettable You. (In case you missed it last year, read my review of the book here.)

"The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. 
But cosmetics are easier to buy." 
--Yves Saint Laurent

Passion to me means pouring your heart and soul into what you do. It's being excited and finding meaning in your work - regardless of what you do. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom or a volunteer at the local homeless shelter, you enjoy life. When you're passionate, it shows in your face and aura. You are genuinely happy and people are drawn to that....and that is true beauty.

"How pleasant is the day when we give up striving 
to be young - or slender."   --William James

Last night I was lying in bed reflecting on life and it finally hit me that I am 37-years-old. I honestly still feel like I'm 21! I don't party and stay up all night like I did back in my 20's, but I still have that zest and excitement about life. I've finally come to accept that I won't have the same 21-year-old body, so I've stopped focusing on "losing weight". Instead, I've looked at simply "living a healthy lifestyle" which consists of eating the right foods and exercising on a regular basis.

What are your favorite quotes on beauty? What does passion or age mean to you?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

What Being a Lady Means to Me

Lady in White Gloves

Over at Already Pretty, Sally asks the question: What is a lady?. The post has inspired many of her readers to share their thoughts about "ladylike behavior", and I thought I would weigh in with my own definition.

As I was reading through some of the comments to Sally's post, I came across Pam's (Over50Feeling40) perspective of what it means to be a lady...

A lady is one of strength and dignity…..she is confident of who she is….and confident of what she believes….she is joyful and loves life (not always constrained)….yet, dignified not necessarily in dress but in stature and wisdom. She can discern when to laugh, when to cry….her strength comes from deep within."

Those thoughts really resonated with me because the first two words that come to mind when I think "lady" is strength and confidence. I also do believe that a lady should be respectful, polite, and demonstrate acts of kindness. Isn't that what we should all be doing anyways?

I don't buy into the idea that a lady should be prim and proper in style and demeanor. However, I do think a lady should be tasteful in her style of dress while expressing her own unique sense of fashion.

Personally, I consider myself to be a lady even though once in a blue moon I will curse, get loud, burp, or do whatever else someone may consider unladylike.

I am comfortable in my own skin. I don't feel like I have to apologize for being me or pretend to be someone I'm not just to fit in with another person's ideal.

What do you think? What does being a lady mean to you?