Pretty, Polished, Perfect.: October 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stella & Dot Party Through November 1st + 50% Off

Have your eye on a few of the fabulous pieces from Stella & Dot?  (I do.)




Through November 1st, you can get 50% off select items when you order $50 or more........just follow this link here to find out which items you can get for 50% off!

p.s. Don't forget to enter the Ross Dress for Less giveaway, ending soon!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winners to Announce + ANOTHER Triple P Giveaway

Last week was the end of the super-awesome Fashionista Giveaway Event, and I know you are all waiting to find out if you are the lucky winners!




If you stopped by the Blue Bird giveaway, the lovely winner is a Kansas City local!


I hope you aren't burnt out on giveaways.......

Ross Dress for Less has finally come to the Kansas City area!  Several local bloggers and I were invited to shop the store before the grand opening, and they even treated us to breakfast.  Which, well......was at a cute little breakfast place aptly named The Big Biscuit.  A Ross Dress for Less Representative, from San Francisco, said that the restaurant had been chosen for its' mid-western feel (this comment was made before I'd seen the place for myself.)  The food was good, the atmosphere friendly, but I'm still trying to decide if that was an insult or not, lol!


I've never shopped at a Ross store before - I will be the first to admit, when I travel to cities with great shopping, there's a long list of stores (Zara is always at the top!) but Ross wasn't one of them.

What can I say?  I loved it.  It's like a cross between a Burlington Coat Factory (which could be either a compliment or an insult depending on how you feel about that store) and a TJ Maxx/Marshalls, with a side of thrifting (except everything is new at Ross.)  The prices are better than TJ Maxx/Marshalls (sorry TJ Maxx - you know I still love you - but it's true!)  Merchandise is constantly changing, there might be an entire rack of the same coat, or a lone single one (that's just your size!)  Just like with any bargain or thrift store - buy it now, because it won't be there when you come back (don't walk away from it either - it might not be there a second later.)  I found two great pairs of shoes, each under $40, a cute sweater ($8!!) this fabulous coat ($18!!) and an assortment of jewelry (all of this for under $25!)


Meet some of the amazingly talented Kansas City bloggers!  Suzanne was my +1 for the event - she is the sweetest person you will ever meet.  Yes, I headed for the shoe department first (duh.)
Now who wants a Ross Dress for Less gift card?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

How To: Launder Your Closet

I think it might have been the holes I ended up wearing in my favorite pants that prompted my fanaticism with the proper care and handling of clothing.  For as long as I can remember, I have washed my clothing in cold water and hung them to air-dry.

My mother once saw this magazine at the store and picked it up for me (a highly irregular thing for her to have done!)  It's like my laundry Bible, lol!  It's also from the pre-convict Martha era.


By far the most helpful thing from this treasure of an issue:

If a tag says Dry Clean - you can actually hand wash it (carefully!)  If the tag says Dry Clean Only - take it to the cleaners, that Only is there for a reason.

Cold Water:  Lights, Brights, Darks, Denim and some Whites (yes, SORT your loads people!)
Hot Water: Unmentionables (bras not included,) Whites that are being bleached and Towels
Dryer: Unmentionables and workout gear that I just can't wait to air-dry
Air-Dry: Everything else.

I use a front-loading washing machine - I think they should ban the manufacturing and selling of top-loaders.  Top-loaders are inefficient and that agitator is cruel on clothing.

I wash my wool and silk on the delicate cycle of my front-loading washing machine (DO NOT WASH THESE IN A TOP-LOADER - that agitator will re-shape your garment into an unrecognizable item!)  I then  roll the item up into a towel, pressing heavily on the towel to release excess water (it works, I swear!) all without de-forming the original shape of the sweater.

I could go on (and tell you stories about The Mr drying and shrinking my clothes - argh!)  but I will leave you with this fun guide to Symbols for Washing Your Clothing.........




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Saturday, October 20, 2012

How To: Closet Spaces

This is a fun post - I get to show you a bunch of fantasy closets (see more here) that I wish I had!

Before I do, I want to make a few points about closets:

1.  Closets should always be organized and clean.  How can you look your best if you can't find your best items??  Bugs (including dust mites) will wear away at your clothes faster than anything else.  I organize my closet by type, then color.  All of my short-sleeve t-shirts are organized by Roy G. Biv (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet - the spectrum of the rainbow) with black, gray and white leading.  Next come my 3/4 sleeve tees, long sleeve tees, button up (arranged again, by sleeves) and so on.  It's the easiest way to find what I am looking for, every time.  I also use wooden hangers exclusively, except when an item is silk or chiffon (they get felt covered hangers.)
2.  Lights can slowly but surely fade your clothes - don't leave them on all day!  Plus, it will save on your electric bill, lol!

On to the fantasizing (grab a kleenex in case of drool.....)

Don't:

Source: 1000notes.com via Erin on Pinterest

How can you find anything in that closet??  The shoes at the back probably get worn the least, mostly because they can't be seen.  While drawers are great - you tend to not wear what you can't see; unless you enjoy the treasure hunting every time you get dressed.

Do (the personal closet of Erica at Moth Design.  She is the most amazing woman you will ever meet online - mother of 5 boys, interior designer, cutest. woman. ever, her closet is a treasure trove of the most enviable handbags, shoes and clothing!) :



I wish:










Ideal:

look at all that Roy G. Biv, lol!
Source: houzz.com via Erin on Pinterest








Non-traditionals:





Small spaces:


Source: bhg.com via Erin on Pinterest

Do you already have a fabulous closet?  How do you organize (or fail to organize, lol!)?

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Friday, October 19, 2012

How To: Hair Turbans

I have a love/hate relationship with my hair.  On a good day, I'm secretly grateful I have natural curls.  On a bad day......well, I'm sure you can guess how I feel in the humidity.


I've read books (actually, just this one.)  It was interesting, but in the end it wasn't helpful.  I've consulted with my hairstylist (she's the same one I've had for 9 years.)  I haven't cheated on her either - how's that for commitment, lol?  What I've come to realize is that everyone is so different, it's impossible to sum everything up in one blog post, or one book, or with one hairstylist.  I only know what works for me:

The cocktail, as my hairstylist calls it.
The best shampoo and conditioner at the Beauty Brand $11.98/liter sale prices:

Joico.  pH balanced - learn it, live it, love it.
Have a larger budget for your haircare?  I recently got some samples of the new Shu Uemura hair product line (and advice - we'll call this a flirtation, no adultery here) from Shelby of the Shelby Herrick Salon in Fairway KS.  His is one of only 1% of American salons that carry this line.  He recommended I use the Shusu Sleek (how fun is that to say?!) smoothing shampoo and conditioner.  It's good stuff guys.  So is my new second-day-hair go-to product, which brings my curls back to life: 


If I can leave you with one tip that should apply to everyone, it's this:


Yep, that's a hair turban made of a cotton t-shirt.  T-shirts tend to be soft (don't use a nubby one, that's not good quality cotton and has a similar texture to terry-looped towels.)  Towels can be abrasive (see all those loops and fibers poking out?) 

cut off the sleeve as shown above, then fold the t-shirt in half, cut diagonally!
Tie two ends of the triangle at your forehead.
Tuck the tail under the knot at the forehead.  You're done.
You don't have to "make" a turban, you can simply take a t-shirt (preferably a crew-neck,)stick your head in the hole of the tee and twist the body (do what you will with the arms) around your hair to make the turban. You could also just cut the tee down the middle (or side) and you suddenly have a bath towel sized t-shirt-towel.  I can't guarantee results, but I notice a difference when I use a t-shirt rather than a towel.

What are your hair trade-secrets?

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

How To: Up-dos, Hair-dos

I named this blog after the style I'm looking for - all things pretty, polished and perfect.  I find them, but rarely do I ever achieve the Triple P status.  (Most likely due to bad hair days and muffin tops.)

My bad hair day go-to?  The Donut (Doughnut?) Bun.  The Sock Bun, minus the sock, add the donut.

Whether you love or hate the bun trend (sock, top-knot or otherwise) it's in, it's easy and it's the fastest way to get your up-do on.




*WARNING*:  Buns and up-dos are not for everyone.  My own face looks better framed by a down-do.  Proportion is important - my own head shape is not right for a teeny-tiny bun.  My face isn't wide enough for an over-sized "donut."  When in doubt, stick to the rule of thirds - it should be no larger and no smaller than 1/3 the size of your face (but don't forget to counter-size for foreheads - larger foreheads can look larger with a shorter-squatter bun and smaller foreheads can look un-naturally small if dwarfed by a too-large bun.)

So go mess around with your hair, take pictures (those photographic images won't lie - I swear,) and ask your closest and most trusted friend.  And remember, if you receive lots of compliments (of the genuine variety) wash and repeat often.

What do you think?  Are you anti-bun?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How To: The Scarf

Yesterday I mentioned turtlenecks and boatnecks (and a giveaway.)  Those types of collars are not for everyone - they can make a neck look wider and shorter.  A great alternative to a fabulous necklace or neckline is a scarf.  Useful for disguising and hiding, warmth and to draw the eye upward, scarves have the most versatility.  My favorite - the look that always look great - is the one that I see most often on celebrities.  It's also the ones I get the most compliments on.

So, um, yeah.  I'm going to name this The Celebrity (please, no applause for my originality here......)  Seriously, watch this.  Laugh, point, share with your friends.  Especially when I get confused (a mirror would have been extremely useful) and smack myself in the face with the scarf.  It's pretty good stuff:



Wrap it around twice, tuck it under and through.  Adjust it until you look like Blake Lively and wah-lah!  You've achieved celebrity status.  Just kidding.  But go on with your bad self anyway.

Tips for scarves - they can look matronly, so watch the length of the tails.  Those lengthy tails can also make you look top heavy if they don't hang long enough, and short if they hang too long.  Scarves worn long draw the eye down as well, so unless you have on a pair of fabulous shoes.........don't.

What do you think?  How do you wear your scarves (if at all?)

p.s. Like giveaways?  Enter here.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How To: Necklaces + A Triple P Giveaway

I didn't use to be a big fan of necklaces.  I've worn a ring on every finger (ten rings at a time,)  I've worn enough bracelets to make my wrist hurt (all at one time,) but it wasn't until the past few years that I've started getting into necklaces.

My personal guidelines (this means they might not work for everyone.....especially if you actually have a chest, lol!)

Boatnecks are great for long necklaces.  I think of it as a blank canvas (backdrop) for the necklace and there is something about the way that neck line and the line of the necklace fall that is pleasing to my eye (I have no idea why this is....do you?)


Jewel-neck tops, sweaters and t-shirts aren't any different for that same reason - however, I love how collar necklaces look with these:

photo courtesy of Brittany Pauline
photo courtesy of Jenny in Jacquard
Turtlenecks are also similar, but I only wear longer necklaces with these - otherwise it competes with the turtleneck, right?

Like this necklace? See the giveaway below!
V-necks are tough for me, but only if it's a single layer, no collar or lapel type top.  I try to keep my necklaces smaller, more 2D (if that even makes sense!), and try to fill in the empty space with them.  When a neckline isn't jewel or boatneck, my necklaces usually follow the lines in some way....


But in the case of this dress:


When it comes to collars, shawl collars and lapels, I love to use those v-type openings as a frame to a great statement piece.  The collars and lapels add dimension, so a single dimension piece would get lost - this is perfect for featuring larger than life statement pieces without the statement pieces overwhelm your proportions (did that sentence even make sense??)


That's not to say that sometimes when an outfit is already loud, you can't go simple:


In need of a new necklace?  Something with a bit of color?  Something that makes a statement?

Let me introduce you to Blue Bird, an etsy seller offering couture jewelry and bridal accessories (although really, who doesn't want to feel like a bride everyday?!)





Offering the ever-popular bubble necklace in a variety of colors, I am sure you will find something you love in their shop.


They are offering you all a chance to win a $20 gift card to their shop!  They have also offered you all a 15% discount on any item in the shop - just use code FALL2012 during checkout!  Good luck to you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

p.s. Don't forget to enter the fantastic giveaway ending tonight!

pleated poppy

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Monday, October 15, 2012

How To: Necklines

There are of course, a large variety of necklines, but I wanted to focus on three or four of the more common types for tops and t-shirts.



I myself prefer the boatneck, as it tends to make your neck look more slender.  Of course, I also have a small chest, so really any shirt works for me.  If you hate your collar bone, a jewel neckline works well to hid it, as can a boatneck.  Larger chest?  V-neck t-shirts can help keep your chest from ka-powing it in a t-shirt.  I usually prefer to wear my hair down when I wear a v-neck, or a more scooped jewel neck line (the polka dot shirt.)  I also prefer to not wear a jewel neckline (the orange tee) with a jacket or blazer, because it creates a disproportionate line that is not in harmony with the cut of the lapels - more on that tomorrow!

I can't end this post without mentioning turtlenecks, my second most favorite neckline - for hiding my neck and framing my face at the same time.

I also can't end this post without mentioning the importance of the right bra.  Bras should hold your ladies in the front and center - if you find them going in any other direction, your bra might not be giving you enough support.  Most stores have an associate available (and trained) in measuring you for your correct bra size.

And while we are on the topic of bras and breasts - don't forget to schedule that annual appointment with your doctor!  Early detection of breast cancer = 93% chance of survival (not the survival of your breasts, but the survival of your life.)



p.s. Don't forget to enter this week's awesome giveaway!

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

How To: Wear Bracelets

Let's talk bracelets.  Yesterday I mentioned that I like my jackets and sleeves to bare a little bit of wrist - it's my own version of modestly showing some skin, lol!  While I don't really have man-wrists, I also don't have petite delicate wrists.  J. Crew has some really fabulous (and hugely popular) wrist candy right now.  I am in love with this pave link beauty.  I want this bracelet to work so badly.....but it is terribly disproportionate to my wrist size.  Like unflattering hems on jackets (and muffin tops) this bracelet doesn't dwarf my wrist and make it seem tiny, but rather the opposite.  Here I am, trying to make it work:



I've since learned what will and what won't work.  It's tough - sometimes you fall in love with a trend, an idea, or thing of beauty - and you wage a war.  Do you wear it and love it even if it isn't flattering?  Or do you just. say. no.

Have you heard of the rule of three?  Most often used in interior decorating and phrases, information and objects that appear in threes tend to be more appealing/pleasing-to-the-eye, effective, and memorable than other numbers of objects and information.  That includes multiples - 6, 9, 12, etc......

How many bracelets does that mean you should wear?  I usually choose a statement bracelet and add three bangles:


This isn't to say that you can't wear more, or less.  Wear what makes you happy.  Hopefully you can find pieces that make you happy and compliment (and complete) your outfit, your skin tone and the proportions of your body!


What about you?  Do you set rules for your accessories?

p.s. don't forget to enter the fantastic giveaway going on this week!

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