Pretty, Polished, Perfect.: October 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Perfect Fridays, Perfect Vacations

It's time for a vacation!  Well, it should be time for a vacation.  With a last minute vacation to see the Redwoods in California, a leisurely drive up and down the PCH 101 (we stopped at every scenic byway, I kid you not) and finally celebrating my kid brother's wedding in Portland, our vacation days (from school) have been used up.

Fall is so beautiful, but along with allergies comes another tiny little bug - the vacation bug.  I miss my family, I miss the warm weather, I miss the ocean; I'm sick of the same darn routine of cooking, cleaning, sleeping, cooking, cleaning, sleeping......



It's time to start getting creative.  I've got to squeeze something in before basketball and indoor soccer start up again.  All the quick weekend getaways close by mean the exact same weather as home, and no ocean.  My brainiac sister and her personal trainer husband live a few hours east, and my no-nonsense brother and his everything-she-touches-turns-to-gold wife live just an hour further.  Both live near tourist attractions; the type of attractions perfect for quick family vacations (or couples' getaways - yes, please! - and mini family reunions!)  The sometimes unpredictable weather means indoor attractions will be the safest bet....

Knowing my sons will just die if they don't get a chance to see their cousins soon, I've hastily put together a quick day-trip to Branson (just minutes from the brainiac.)  The last time we were in Branson was for a family vacation, and it was the middle of summer:



Never one to miss a perfect opportunity, I'm bringing my kid sister with us to babysit (don't feel too badly for her, she loves to visit this sister!) while we hit some of the indoor highlights (like the Hollywood Wax Museum.)  I've never been to a wax museum, but based on the website, I'm planning to come home with as many cheesy photos of us with our fake celebrity friends as possible, hahaha!  With it being Halloween (yes, I wrote this post last night) I'm just hoping it won't be creepy.  It's not creepy right?  All I can think of is that lame (but totally creepy) movie......

Saturday's day-trip might not make for a Perfect Friday, but it will surely make our weekend highlights!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

TripleP Giveaway: Accessory Mercado

There have a been a ton of flash sale sites popping up lately, and I've just found another one (okay, they found me, but I love what they've got!) 


While you can always purchase their lovely (and on-trend) pieces from their website, accessorymercado.com, they also have flash sales on their Facebook page, every Wednesday at 8pm (CST.)  They will post a photo of a beautiful piece and, after registering, it's as simple as this:


In celebration of this up and coming jewelry site, they would like to offer one of you this beauty:


Like Accessory Mercado on Facebook (and watch for their Wednesday sales!) and you're in the running to win this classic gemstone necklace.  Good luck!



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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 16: Rainboots, Wellies, Hunters, Whatever-you-want-to-call-thems (+ another giveaway!)

I'm a huge advocate for rain boots, but especially for winter-time.  I know Sorelli has made a comeback with some retro awesomeness (but one wearer said her feet still get cold,) but wellies will always be in style.  How does one wear them?  Anyway you want. Haha.  Here's a peek into the way I tend to style mine.


Looking for a good pair of rainboots?  I bought a cheap pair from Charlotte Russe (amongst others) before finding my favorite pair at J.Crew, the Weatherby boots - sadly no longer available.  I also highly recommend the Hunter riding boots - super chic, or the more affordable Chookas from Nordstrom.  Can you tell I have a thing for red boots?!  Haha.

In honor of wellies, and because I think they are for every season (see the snow?), Heat Holders and I have teamed up to give you a chance to win a pair of full-length Wellies originals!  Super-soft and ultra cozy, I've been wearing these toasty socks around the house as well.


Just "like" Heat Holders on Facebook, and you're entered to win.  Good Luck (and may the odds be forever in your favor, haha!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

pleated poppy

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TripleP Givewaway: 9thandElm.com


This is a Fashionista Event.  I was given a promotional item to review by 9thandElm.com to share my opinions about the website.  All opinions are my own. 
I couldn't have been more excited to find this fun and stunning Dana Blair Designs ring listed on 9thandElm.com.  You may have seen this preview on Instagram:
I also couldn't be more excited about the website itself.  Joining the ever-popular shopping experience that is "group sales," 9thandElm.com bring us the opportunity to discover new and talented artists, boutiques and handmade items.  The site is easy to navigate, constantly updating with new deals (from $5 off - to up to 50% off!) and the customer service is excellent.  Many vendors have limited supplies, and are only listed for a few days, so snagging a hot item must be done quickly!  I ordered this ring from 9thandElm.com and was surprised by the relatively short amount of time it took to receive a handcrafted item.  Here it is again, in color:
In honor the recently launched 9thandElm.com, we'd like to bring you this awesome giveaway*:

* By entering this event, please note that you are agreeing to be subscribed to 9thandElm.com newsletter.
*9thandElm.com was founded by Clay and Elly Bethune in the spring of 2013 with a mission to bring it's members fabulous fashion from the best handmade and independent designers. We realize it is extremely difficult to sort through and discover handmade fashion geared towards the "fashionista". Search no longer. Exclusive deals handpicked by our buyers will be delivered daily to our users inbox. This site is a multiple designer site. 

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

KCFW Designer Review: Saturday, October 5

Saturday's show focused on details.  Amazing details.  I think the designer's with the greatest skill in craftsmanship (flawless seams and fit!!) were saved for the last evening of shows.  While the entire looks were amazing, it was the details that really won me over that night.  Be sure to check out the full collection photos on the Pretty, Polished, Perfect Facebook page (especially Hilary Brown's!!)

Lauren Bander:  Designer Lauren Bander used an earthy color palette and float-y textiles to lift us into a sense of soft femininity with a touch of the ethereal.  She had me convinced I could walk about normal every-day activities toting an overly large flower.



BMDESIGNS:  Back again for another season (after her move to New York,) designer Brittany Davidson's collection was........I just don't know.  Though I was not as inspired by this collection (did you see last years?!) her obvious skills and artistic vision continue to grow.  Also, her soundtrack was phenomenal.  My favorite part of the collection was (surprise, surprise) the small details and trims, as well as her use of subtle color-blocking.  I can't wait to see what Brittany will come up with next!


ARCHITEXTURE:  Let's face it.  Capes can look......super-hero-ish, costume-y, cheap.  It takes the skilled work and artistic vision of design duo John and Christina Moncke to take that horrid cliche and turn it into something every woman will now want to own (myself included.)  Not unlike the Brand name, this collection was full of simple yet stunning architectural lines.  When a designer can combine architectural lines with the soft curves of a feminine body, art happens.  Kudos to this design duo, I cannot wait to see more!



RARE TRENDS:  Designers Paola Moore and Marina Silver kept our attention with a throwback to 70s (think bellbottoms, leather jackets and more.)  My absolute favorite was the long fringe dress in black leather.  It was amazing to see come down the runway (if not a little bit painful to watch - where's a slit when you need one?)  While I would definitely forgo the velveteen pants, the rest of the collection was fun, feminine and has some great edgy pieces.



christianMICHEAL:  Designer Christian Shuster holds a special place in my menswear-loving heart.  Season after season, he pushes out menswear looks that push always manage to convey a sense of utter gentleman-liness (also, 'milkman' - I will let you decide how that makes you feel.)  This season's collection was ah-mazing.  He has such a talent for clean, well-executed lines, and the fit of those pants was nothing but perfection.  Of course, my love for all things preppy may have swayed my opinion, just a smidge, lol!  Finally, a pair of cropped pants men can (and should!) wear!  



Hilary Brown:   All personal feelings aside (I genuinely like this sweet designer!) I loved this collection.  I was ready to book a ticket to any resort and wear every single piece of this collection.  Beautiful, soft muted colors, and sweet femininity were all found this decidedly dancer's-background collection.  The pieces were flawlessly executed, from hems to fit.  Another amazing mention has to be given for her use of 3D-printed elements she incorporated into the designs and styling (look for an etsy shop coming soon, you will not be disappointed!)



Kate Walz:  Kate's youth tends to wow people, but it's her talent and determination to learn and do bigger and better things that amazes me (impressive at any age.)  This collection was feminine as always, but with a hint of vintage that reminded me of Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.  I loved the soft, almost neutral colors (last year's was vivid pinks and reds that I loved!) and the way the skirts of the gowns swirled flawlessly as they walked down the runway.  It's fun to see Kate's vision and I can't wait to see more from her, especially as her execution and attention to detail continues to progress.


Don't forget to see all of the designer's look on the Pretty, Polished, Perfect facebook page!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

KCFW Designer Reviews: Friday October 4

It's day 2 of KCFW at the beautiful Union Station, and the fun is just beginning.  Photos of each collection in their entirety can be found on the Pretty, Polished, Perfect Facebook page.  Just a gentle reminder: all photos are copyrighted and permission to use must be granted.

Bridget Julia Couture:  How do I word this correctly?  The collection was like a crafter's dream come true (and that's a compliment, by the way.)  It reminded me of sparkles, glitters, confetti, sequins, leftover fabric scraps; all made into fabulously fun dresses.  With a just a hint of pageantry, designer Bridget Mahoney brought life to the party.



Katie Lee:  I loved every single one of designer Kate Nickols' dresses.  Flowy, soft, feminine, simple.  Well-made, well-tailored, I can't wait to see more!



House of Cochon:  Great performances with a side of sass are always a given when designers Courtney Perry and Amanda Burkhart put on a show and they certainly didn't disappoint.  When this piece first turned the corner and headed down the runway, I instantly fell in love with this piece:



Saks Off 5th Boutique:  I have to give them honorable mention here.  We couldn't understand a word the MCs were saying, so we all took pictures and ooh-ed and ahh-ed over these amazingly crafted pieces.  The joke was on us - this wasn't Jillian Fellers, this was designer-crafted clothing, lol!



Jillian Fellers: All I know is, The Mr needs to re-propose so we can have a second wedding/renewal of our vows.  Satin is not always flattering (think off-the-rack, stark-white monstrosities that glaringly cling to your every imperfection) but Jillian Fellers uses it to perfection.  Stunningly simple, exquisitely tailored, romantically fluid.  I could come up with excuses to wear these gowns on an every-day basis.



Cass & Britt:  Playful.  Feminine.  Time-transporting.  Romantic throwback to a very different era.  I loved the general feeling of joy emanating from the models (it may have been contagious!)  Their designs has me feeling pride over feminine curves, wanting to flaunt rather than hide them.  Can we all just pause for a second for this look?  From head to toe, I loved every detail of this styling.  Makes me think "Foxy Brown" twenty years earlier (with a completely different set of problems, lol!)



KC Pet Project:  A portion of all ticket sales went to this amazing charity.  This one wins best color-coordination:



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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 4: Trendy (cheap) vs. Timeless (the real deal)

Have you all heard of GroopDealz?  Aside from the fact that I will get $5 in credit if you sign up and spend $20*, this website usually features at least one knockoff item from store favorites Anthropologie and J. Crew.  Occasionally there will be shoutouts to other stores, including Nordstrom.  Even I was tempted by the Stella & Dot Outlaw bracelet knockoff (under the boutique section) and the J. Crew enamel link bracelet knockoff (each for under $10!)


a closer shot - you can see where the finish is wearing off - but hey! they were less than $10 (and the finish on all jewelry wears off over time.......)



I have one rule of thumb for jewelry:

  • Trendy = cheap
  • Timeless = invest
There's not much worse than buying a cheap accessory you love to pieces (literally) and can't repair or replace!


*Groopdealz is not sponsoring this post.  Anyone who signs up with Groopdealz will be given a personalized "invite friends" link and receive the same $5 credits.

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Every Drop Counts by Neutrogena Naturals Brand Ambassador Kristen Bell

My son has recently started an age-old, weekly homework assignment: current events.  It's made me think about some of the more important current events I read about these days.  One that has caught my eye is the ongoing and growing concern about water conservation.





The month of October kicks off a campaign with Neutrogena Naturals and Brand Ambassador Kristen Bell, partnering with the Nature Conservancy - the leading conservation organization that works around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters.  Neutrogena Naturals will be supporting the Nature Conservancy by donating 10% of all purchased Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Cleanser to the conservancy, during the month of October (1st-31st.)


Want to help support a great cause?  Visit Neutrogena's facebook page and take the pledge to adopt simple water-conserving behaviors.  The goal is to save 1 million gallons of water!  As a bonus, when you take the pledge, you will be entered to win a luxury green spa trip to Napa Valley, as well as an Eco Beauty Prize Pack for one lucky reader.  Use Rafflecopter below to enter the Eco Beauty Prize Pack.


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Kansas City Fashion Week Reviews: Thursday

This past Thursday kicked off a long weekend of amazing local designers.  Kansas City Fashion Week chose a beautiful venue (the historically and recently renovated Union Station,) and selected several new designers as well as several comeback kids.  All images from the show can be found on the Pretty, Polished, Perfect Facebook page.

Andrea Marie Long Designs:  I saw a little preview of her collection at the First Friday party downtown.  My first impression was......the movie Barbarella, with Jane Fonda (don't watch it - absolutely terrible movie.)  *post-edit: The acting and the plotline are terribly ridiculous, but the costumes are beyond fabulous - so google images, but don't watch the movie, lol!  I'm glad I was able to catch it on the runway - add an atmosphere and music, and it really changes it.  My favorite from her collection:



Haus of Donna Faye:  I saw last season's collection, and by comparison, Tiffany has come a long way.  If this were Project Runway (what? I have faithfully watched every episode, lol!) there might be some constructive criticism on craftmanship, and in her favor, there has been some significant refinement.  The theatrics were dark, but well suited to her style:



Erin Paige Designs:  Her pieces are always amazing (and she's one of the sweetest women I've met yet.)  I think I preferred the styling of last season's show better, but to her credit, I'm now determined to find one of these white gowns to lounge in next summer:



Chelsea Riane Designs:  I loved what she was trying to do here.  I got it.  She can only go up from here, and I hope we will see more from her.  There was a dress or two that made me wonder if she switched models at the last minute.  A few of her pieces came off flawlessly, including this favorite:



Recrudescence: Artistic pieces, that simply put, reminded me of a 3D version of a Jackson Pollock painting.  A few of the collars (?) necklaces also reminded me of George Gower's painting of Elizabeth I.




Kaity Rathman Designs: Earthy tones, sophisticated tie-dye (she proves it does exist) and I loved, loved, loved being pleasantly surprised by the back of this dress!



Little Michelle Designs:  I have seen Michelle grow and this is by far her best craftsmanship yet, and her inspiration and subsequent translation to the collection are to be applauded.  I loved some of these simple, yet stunning details from collection:



Whitney Manney:  Another designer I have had the opportunity to see develop her talent and if I thought last season was amazing, Whitney has managed to outdo herself yet again.  She is a genius when it comes to printmaking (she could teach those Project Runway kids a thing or two in that challenge!) and her energy and artistic desires permeated the room when she walked out after the final walk.  



AC78:  Let me start with a disclaimer: I think (most) soccer players have amazing style.  I also think American men could take cues from European styles.  Lastly, I had already purchased something from this collection before seeing it on the runway.  It's that good.  That being said, Aurelien Collin and Tom Paolini produced an amazing show.  Starting with the brilliant performance by several ballerinas of the Kansas City Ballet, pleasing us (women) with well-dressed men (with a hint of modern, male European influence) and ending with what appeared to be a very humble and happy duo of designers.  It was the perfect end to the evening.


*All images are copyrighted and the property of prettypolishedperfect.com.

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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 3: Knits (and A Totally Awesome Giveaway!)

This post sponsored by Fresh Produce and Ross Dress for Less.
Knits can be tricky. They can hug every little roll and curve of your body.  They can sag and bag like nobody's business.  They can also be super-comfortable, and easy to care for (machine washable, yes!)  I have no rules, no guides, to give you (that don't involve a degree in textiles.)  I do however, have an exciting recommendation (and an amazing giveaway!) for Fresh Produce.  Their knits are thick enough, the stitching tight enough (but loose enough to still be breathable,) the quality superb, and the prices are reasonable.  I have worn this skirt endlessly for the past two summers, and plan to do so again next year:

(farewell summer!)
Fresh Produce, along with Ross Dress for Less, have combined to offer you (the wonderful readers with whom I would be nothing without!) a giveaway (in conjunction with Fashionista Events.*)

Entries are super easy - like the sponsors on Facebook, and then follow me! 
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*The Fall Fashionista Giveaway Event is hosted by The Chief Blonde at Still Blonde After All These Years and Katy from ModlyChic, K Squared Glamour  is our co-host!   All Fashion!  Only FASHION event! Largest Fashion Giveaway event on the internet with $26,000+ in prizes, 100+ participating blogs and 3/4 million entries.  Each individual blog has a minimum of $125 prize! )

AND:

For every giveaway in the Fall Fashionista Event that an entrant enters, they gain one entry toward the FALL Fashionista Events Main Event Prizes.  Go here to enter Main Event==> $1000 in Main Event Prizes (<<< Link the words “$1000 In Main Event Prizes with this URL  http://stillblondeafteralltheseyears.com/?p=21194 ) including a $300 prize from Coupons.com.

Still Blonde after all these YEARS , Modly Chic, K Squared Glamour , Fall Fashionista Events Giveaway or the Fall Fashionista Events Giveaway bloggers are not responsible for sponsors/bloggers that do not fulfill their prizes or for any product failure or harm caused thereby.

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Day 2: Are Leggings Pants?

No.  They aren't.  See this post on meggings for a quick laugh (or at least a smile.)


My rule of thumb is this:  Proportion is everything.  Incorrect proportions can make you too tall, short, or wide, too thin or too fat, pear shaped and sometimes upside-down pear shape (is there a name for that shape?)  Also, your pants should never be see-through, even if you are wearing a thong; don't ever forget the LuluLemon fiasco.  

Let's use the lovely pants and leggings from J. Crew:


And this:


Back to proportion.  Straight lines cut you in half, and the visual effect is never appealing.  Our bodies have shapes and fluid (but not straight) lines.  You can't do harsh architectural lines unless you have a stiff garment that holds its' shape (away from the body.) 

Simply ways to avoid these unflattering lines?  Pair the straight hem of a t-shirt or sweater with the curved hem of a button down or tunic (see above.)  Tuck a little piece of the shirt into the waistband or belt of your pants to break up the line, or leave it un-tucked in the back.  Baggy tops are best proportioned with curve-hugging pants (or leggings when appropriate.)  Skin-tight tops look fine with bottoms that have some weight - like denim (even skinny jeans - but no one should own a pair of jeggings, I'm sorry.)  Flowy, full maxi-skirts look best paired with a fitted top.  Baggy tops, baggy bottoms - hard to pull off.  Skin-tight everything?  Only in ballet.





My favorite way to wear a knit pant?


and a legging:


The debate:
Should leggings (or knit pants resembling leggings) be worn as pants?

31 Days of Styling Tips

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