Couture Apparel Review

News of a package delivery from Couture Apparel on Amazon was a sweet way to start my week. The seller features average priced clothing with something for women of all ages, but almost everything is slashed to about 70% off! They offer attire for a range of functions and activities– from work, to parties, to weekend play. You’ll love the unique designs and shapes of their tops and dresses.

2014-04-06 11.59.55I chose a white sleeveless dress called the Kyra with a visible back zipper and black bordering around the sleeves and hem. The silky material was shapely but not too tight that it became clingy. Two side pockets were accented by gold zippers. Due to the nature of the color I decided it was best to wear a slip underneath, but the dress did come with an attached lining. It’s perfect for work and looks great with any  black pumps or colored flats. Check out what else the site has to offer. My picks are below.

2014-04-06 11.59.28

Items you will love:

Sequins Solid Print Top- $31

Knit Elegant Short Jacket$31

Solid Print Tunic- $21

 

 

Couture Apparel is also giving 20% off any item! Use the code: FASH0407.

*This offer is valid for one month and starts today 04/08/14.

Wear The Paint Review

It had been a long time since I’d seen a hand painted shirt. I did have a blast boasting a homemade t-shirt slathered in puffy paints for Girls Scouts in third grade– if that counts for anything– but I can’t recall any sartorial Pollock or Monet spottings since.  All the better for Wear The Paint’s timing. The ladies of the company are determined to bring crafty hand painted tops back to the forefront of fashion. Last week the new company launched their e-commerce site wearthepaint.com where they sell hand painted tees and sweatshirts for men and women. I love the cute branded tote they wrapped the purchase in! The style is laid back and fun, and the truly hand painted products have a personal touch. Due to the nature of the creation there may be subtle differences with each individual item.

The ladies try to keep the concept modern with in-your-face words, masterpiece replicas (I love the starry night tee!) and other fun design like strawberry hued hearts. The background canvas is very simple and draws attention to the design… it also gives the items an arts and crafts feel. I found their Facebook page and learned a bit more about how the ambitious duo work as a power team. The two friends stay up late designing products and even modelling for the site. Support these awesome entrepreneurs by buying one of their reasonably priced shirts or baggy sweatshirts with inspiring pictures or words.

My picks are:

Tesselated Heart Tee- $20

Rose with Polka Dots Tee- $20

Feather Sweatshirt- $50

Here’s how I wear the paint!

2014-04-02 20.39.43

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sweatshirt, Wear The Paint

Jeans (cut into shorts) J & Company

Best Dressed Golden Globes 2014

7. Jessica Chastain in Givenchy- The black played up her curves with feather style detailing and a feminine flared shape. She completed her look with an exquisite diamond necklace.

Jessica Chastain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Julianne Margulies in Andrew Gn- Julianne Margulies isn’t young by Hollywood’s standard, but she owned this black dress with gold branch detailing. She looked just as radiant as any twenty year old.  (She even pulled off cap sleeves which can be tricky on formal wear!)

andrew gn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Taylor Swift in Caroline Herrera- You can always count on Taylor Swift to get things right. This vibrant color blocked dress looked full and rich on her long and lean body.

Taylor Swift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Emma Roberts in Lavin- So maybe she didn’t take a fashion risk but she appealed to a great fashion lesson: you can’t go wrong in a well cut black dress. I love that she paired it with large turquoise earrings.

Emma Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Kate Beckinsale in Zuhair Murad- She found a way to make beading look original in this saucy silver number. The sexy mermaid shape shined on the red carpet.

Kate Beckinsale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Kaley Cuoco in Rani Zakhem- She loves full skirted dresses and this floral print one looked lovely per usual. Don’t stare too long though, the unfocused flowers can make you dizzy!

kaley2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren- It’s been an amazing sartorial year for her with her breakthrough performance. She looks stunning in bright colors and the fire engine red was no exception. I’m obsessed with the bold cape.

Lupita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fame and Partners Prom Dresses

It may be a bit premature for prom season, but it’s never too early to start dress shopping! Fame and Partners Prom Dresses is an Australian boutique website that features celebrity inspired dresses at great prices. The website is easy to use, and I love everything they offer, like free returns and the opportunity to customize your own dress! You can even take their fun style quiz and receive $20 off your purchase. You’ll find it easy to channel stars like Rihanna and Taylor Swift with gowns resembling their 2013 Grammy choices. Best of all, even though the website is advertised as a prom site, the inventory isn’t childish. The selections work just as well for someone in their 20′s attending a wedding or banquet. To give you some of ideas of what might fit your fancy, I made a few recommendations based on style identity. Check out FameandPartners.com now!

Girlie- Sweet takes the cake on this steal of a deal mini-dress ($99) that is ideal for any cocktail party. A crisscross sweetheart neck has internal boning and fine pleating. The perfect dress for a great twirl.

sweetheart minidress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sexy- Work this halter dress ($229) with a high side slit. The long skirt and pretty red color scream old Hollywood glamour.

sexy halter dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild- Try the peplum top ($79) with a cascading high-low hem. Pair it with a column skirt to make a big impact on the dance floor.

peplum fame

Cloudy With A Chance Of Style

Rain, rain, go away. Please come back when I’m in Saint-Tropez! Sadly, I won’t be booking a trip in the near future, and it doesn’t look like the rain is ready to disappear. However, that’s no excuse to be lethargic and stream movies instead of attending a winery tour or the weekend getaway you booked in anticipation of a warm summer. A simple solution to beat weather woes is to dress appropriately. Since we stowed our coats long ago, everyone seems to thinks they need the company of an umbrella. But in my experience umbrellas are just a nuisance with artful structure. They blow inside out during strong winds, they get hooked on someone else’s and knock out strangers’ eyes with the pointy wires. And good luck when the captured rain drips on you and the carpet after you close it! For these reasons I recommend a light, absorbent, hooded raincoat paired with practical footwear like jelly flats which keep toes dry and wick away water. Skip maxi dresses which can drag in puddles. Instead pick up a pair of boyfriend capris, or an A-line skirt…just avoid the color white!

Nastygal.com, $59

Nasty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopbop.com, Free People, $62

free peep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vince Camuto, $105

Vince

A Suit To Lighten Your Load

If you always end up paying the minimum $50 fee for extra luggage, then you’ll love swim suits that can double as shirts for a poolside brunch. The best way to guarantee you don’t forget your suit is to incorporate it in your getaway wardrobe. Here are my top picks for bathing suits to prance around on land or sea:

Swim

Lulus.com, Mink Pink, $133

Swim2

Shopbop.com, Lisa Marie Fernandez, $390

Swim3

Bloomingdales, BLEU Rod Beattie, $129

Mad Style

With the start of Mad Men’s Sixth Season, I’ve been inspired to highlight some very chic retro fashions. Just take a peek at Banana Republic’s annual collection featuring boxy shells, geometric print dresses, and gingham capris. Wrap a silk scarf around your head for a easy to manage mod do that keeps all pretty faces intriguing and protected from the sun.

Mad Men

 

Ankle Cuff Shoes

The name might bring to mind the house arrest monitor made famous Martha Stewart, but these shoes have nothing to do with crime. The thick strap acts like an ankle bracelet and provides support so you don’t slip out of your heels. For the trendiest style look for a strap that is at least an inch thick and find the feature on heels and flat sandals. The strap should sprout from the very top of the shoe, if it’s lower it’s just a variation of a Mary Jane.

Heels:

ankleLulus.com- $26

 

 

 

 

ankle cuff heel Zara- $80

 

 

 

 

Vince Camuto- $118ankle cuff heel

 

 

 

 

Lamb, Zappos.com- $295ankle cuff heel

 

 

 

 

Sandals:

nine west sandalsNine West- $59

 

 

 

 

 

ankle cuff sandalBlonde Amibition, Nordstrom, $140

 

 

 

 

cuffRachel Zoe, Piperlime.com- $235

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maternity Wear Worn Right

The Kardashian’s love fashion– just google their enormous closets, the Dash boutique, and the KK line designed for Sear’s. Kim especially is recognized for her standout choices that hug all her curves and call for attention. It’s no surprise that pregnancy won’t stop her from wearing mustard leather, ruffled satin pants, and graphic black and white dresses all accompanied by high heels. While she should be able to enjoy this time without the fashion police butting in, her style is getting talked about  because she hasn’t adjusted her wardrobe to her changing body.  When you’re interviewed on late night TV and attending red carpet events you still want to wear expensive labels, and it’s hard to redefine your look for nine months. While shopping her closet and maintaining her sexy style allows her be a glamazon even with a baby on the way, the clothes are not as figure flattering as they could be if she wore real maternity wear.  For celebrities it’s tricky because the world of designer maternity wear seems limited. Luckily, for those of us on a tighter budget, we can appreciate that maternity wear is sold all over, including H&M, Old Navy, Asos.com and Target. Below are three outfits that are comfortable and flatter your round tummy.

 

Baby Shower

LOFT Dress $75/ Vince Camuto Handbag $228/ Kate Spade Earrings $48/ BaubleBar Bangle bracelet $36/ Lilly Pulitzer Kat Kitten Heel – Zappos.com $198

maternity

Liz Lange for Target Top $28 / LOFT Pants $65/ Old Navy Jacket $25/ Envy DSW Checkered shoes $50/ Nordstrom Cotton scarve $74/ ALDO Hat $25/ Express Sunglasses $18

blue

A Pea in the Pod Shirt $135/ A Pea in the Pot Skirt $60/ Topshop Flats $48/ Anthropologie Pendant jewelry $48/Anthropologie Crystal hair accessory $18/ NARS Cosmetics

Cap It Off

Sometimes women fall into the trap of believing we have to suffer to look beautiful. Just last week I read a magazine that included a disconcerting article about what celebrities put up with to look special during a photographed evening. These sacrifices included wearing heels so high the person had to lean on her publicist the whole night, a dress so tight this actress needed to take frequent bathroom breaks to breathe, and neck coils so heavy that the wearer’s upper body was stiff for a week. We get so wrapped up in the complicated and painful aspects of beauty that we forget how easy it is to sparkle and remain comfortable. Rihanna wows us with daring hot pants and ever changing hair colors, but her latest staple is a very approachable one, a girlie baseball cap. No longer are the duck brims reserved for alma mater pride and successful sports teams. I love a studded or bedazzled one with a solid mini skirt or a fun floral print topper to shield your face at the beach.

H&M- $25

h&m

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Russe- $8

floral baseball cap

 

 

 

 

 

Free People- $48

floral hat

Silk Bomber Jackets

My first purchase at Victoria’s Secret was a cerulean satin bomber jacket with a red fleece lining. I’m not sure how it fit into the mix of things since it was in the days before Pink sold sweats and t-shirts, but I was content with my find. I think I eventually relinquished it to Goodwill because the the smooth silky material started to pull, but today I know the jacket would be still be stylish. In fact, silk bomber jackets are the perfect way to add a chic touch to a sporty item. It’s the perfect item to wear with jeans or a skirt because the fabric balances the somewhat masculine cut and fit. Plus, it’s not the traditional jean jacket you’ll see on everyone. Many styles have baseball sleeves (a darker color than the body) but seek Asian inspired embroidery, such as a dragon or cherry blossom. The detail is eye-catching and shows you care about what you wear.

French Connection- $90

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Stylebop.com, Emilio Pucci- $2305

emilio

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.Crew- $295

bomber

Light Wash Denim Dress

Another to add to the list of returning 90′s grunge pieces: the light denim dress. It comes in a faded wash and falls above the knee (thank goodness those awful maxi denim patchwork skirts didn’t make the cut). Look for it to be accented by snaps that may or may not be functional. Try it out in the fall with warm, slouchy socks and Doc Martens, and for spring wear it with a floral baseball cap and a braid.

H&M- $25

denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Topshop- $75

denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asos.com, River Island- $68

denim

Influenster SweetHeart VoxBox Review

This year I got a belated Valentine from the team at Influenster!
It was stuffed with four goodies to help a lady look and feel her best.

beach babe spray1. Not Your Mother’s Sea Salt Spray, $6- The spray has a nice tropical coconut smell making you feel like your tousled hair was blown just so on an island beach. I try to avoid putting salt in my hair because I don’t want to dry it out, but this spray didn’t make it stringy and lackluster. My hair is very thick, and I think may have worked better with less hair. It did add a subtle kinkiness, but not the effect I would expect from actually taking a dip in the ocean. At six dollars this product sounds like a bargain, but it is easy to make yourself. I’m always reading magazine recipes for achieving sexy, beachy hair. If you look at the ingredients in this bottle it’s primarily water and sea salt, two products you already own! I would recommend this product instead of concocting it yourself if: you feel lazy, want to experience the redolent scent of the tropics, or you made your own spray and didn’t get the results you wanted.

peanut2. Skinnygirl Daily Bars, $10 for a pack of 5- These come in four flavors, all which sound excellent. I tried the Coco-Nut with Peanut Butter, so that’s the only one I can comment on for taste. It is delicious! …That is if you like coconut and peanuts since you’ll be tasting plenty of both. If you recognize the brand, that’s because it was created by  Bethenny Frankel who first started Skinnygirl healthy indulgences with lower calorie margaritas. The bars do have some benefits. This one has 8 grams of protein, provides 5 grams of fiber, and 20% Vitamin E. They fall about where I would expect with sugars (8 grams) and calories (180). While they are all Kosher and and remain similar as far as the nutrition listed, some are much higher in fat than others. The Banana Oatmeal Dark Chocolate and Greek Yogurt Blueberry Crisp have 13% saturated fat; that’s half what the Coco-nut one contains! Of course coconut, dark chocolate, and nuts are all high in fat so it isn’t so radical. At two dollars a piece, you can get two Luna Bars for the price of one Skinnygirl Bar. Overall, I don’t plan on buying these all the time, but I am curious to try the flavors that are lower in fat and compare the taste. It could be a good pre-workout dessert.

olay2. Olay Fresh Effects Shine Minimizing Cleansing System, $13- I think of Olay as a brand that focuses on wrinkle prevention and fine line solutions. It was exciting to see them expand their market to teens and young women. When I used this product it was hard for me to say what I was hoping to get out of it. It says it’s supposed to clean, but I was wearing mascara so I carelessly wiped off my makeup beforehand.  My fear with these products is always that the bristles will be abrasive, but instead it provided a gentle cleanse. I wanted to be able to remove the product without the need for five cold water splashes, but I was out of luck in that department. I’m not sure what the tool is supposed to do? Exfoliate, minimize appearance of pores, massage? But either way I liked that it was a fun gadget that allowed me to clean my face without it touching my hands. The cream was a peculiar silver color, but it smelled fine. I would tell you to try this product if you’re interested. Maybe it’s the placebo effect, but I do feel like my skin feels smooth and looks fresh today. Plus, this is a bargain compared to other similar facial cleansing products.

secret stress sweat3. Secret Clinical Strength Stress Response, $7.99- I was looking for a new deodorant and with tons of competing commercials out there it is hard to know what is good without testing it. Needless to say, I was happy when this was put on my doorstep. What’s interesting is that this deodorant is designed to specifically combat stress sweat which they say it the worst smelling of the causes (ick!). You should know that it is not just a deodorant, it is an antiperspirant too. This means that it’s scented, as well as made with aluminum to help you stop sweating. Researchers are still up in the air about the health effects of using antiperspirant. It has 20% of the active ingredient, where as other “no sweat” antiperspirants have 15%-25%. To get one with more you need a prescription. The Secret roll up is great for a job interview, a first date, or a stroll in the park with your boyfriend on a hot summer day.  I would recommend it for big events, especially because the scent is amazing. It’s “serene citrus” and smells like an orange blossom garden. It’s good to also have an all natural deodorant on your dresser for daily use, such Tom’s of Maine.

**I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes

 

What To Wear This Spring

This February our fuzzy friend, Punxsutawney Phil, brought us good news. Expect the snow storms to be replaced with sunny skies and warm weather very soon. With spring around the corner we can start to live out the dream of shedding layers and flaunting fabulous new sundresses without the hassle of accessorizing with scarfs, mittens, hats, and snow boots. So what should you purchase to be a style icon this spring? Below is a list of trends to buy, replenish, and replace for the 2013 season.

Black and white stripes- The Hamburglar look appeared in a lot of designer collections. Just the colors black and white together is a popular style this spring. To be one with the “in crowd,” nix the colored accessories overload and try simple black shoes instead.

Wishlist- Marc Jacobs, $1200

Marc Jacobs stripes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy now- Michael Kors, $120

 

striped maxi dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer sleeve peplum top- You’ll see tons of racerback tank tops and scoop neck t-shirts with the peplum frill. The look goes nicely with slim pants or a pencil skirt and a blazer for dressier days at the office. A strapless version is also a great choice for a sexy night out.

 

Wishlist- BCBG, $178

peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buy now- Lulu’s.com, $30

peplum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look at me sunglasses- These protect your eyes with style. Go bold by choosing a cat eye frame with tinted lenses.

 

Wishlist- Shopbop.com, Marc Jacobs, $325

sunglasses

 

 

 

 

Buy now- Free People, $18

Free People Sunglasses

 

 

 

 

Save- Tie dye denim, Express, $80

tie dye denim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save- Skater dress, Nordstrom, Lush, $52

lush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save- Hi-Lo Dress, SoieShop.com, $30

soie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swap- Neon capris for jewel tone ankle pants, Ann Taylor Loft, $70

ankle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swap- Pin up, high brief bathing suits for smaller, strappy ones, Victoria’s Secret, $83

vic

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swap- Baggy crop tops for tighter, solid colored ones, American Apparel, $24

akris camels

What’s In The Box?

BirchboxThe newest trend right now isn’t a pair of booties, a dainty chain necklace, or even a colored satchel, it’s a box, or to include the one variant on the list, a package. Subscription boxes come just like magazines, once at the beginning of every month. They include an assortment of products that ship for a flat fee which frequently includes free shipping. Most of these are beauty boxes, but the market is starting to expand beyond makeup and body products to fashion and accessories. It began with Birchbox and now has the concept has soared. If you love surprises, then be sure to read on!

Birchbox: You get five customized premium beauty and grooming samples from popular brands, mostly those sold at Sephora
-$10/month + ability to earn points
A sample box might include- Beauty Blender sponge, Korres shower gel, Nail polish remover pads, Juicy Couture perfume sample, and Ghirardelli chocolate

Pro- A selection that is tailored to your appearance and your beauty preferences. They also sell a kit for men!
Con- The box is only stuffed with samples, so it’s more of a chance to test what products you might be interested in rather than an opportunity to get something that will last for 6+ months.

POPSUGAR Must Have Box: Get beauty, fashion, and home items that are favorites of the POPSUGAR team
-$35/month, worth over $100
Last month’s box included- Revlon lip stain, Hanky Panky thong, Brokedown wrap, Connoisseurs jewelry cleaner
, Safe Haven book, MarieBelle New York’s Trésor Box, and Conversation Hearts candy,

Pro- Definitely sounds like it’s worth the money, and everything is selected by editors who have tested tons of loot.
Con- Although there was a theme to the February box, you don’t really know what to expect. It’s a big motley package of girlie products.

The List gift bag by I-Ella: Submit a style profile and then choose from one of three levels. It’s hard to say exactly what you’ll get, but I think the lower end ones include makeup and jewelry while the two more expensive sets have clothing and accessories. With all bags you will get 3-5 items and 1-2 of them will have a designer label.
-Must subscribe for 3 or 6 months, $59/month, $129/month, $389/month, worth almost double the price
A sample Soho box might include-The Entrepreneur Equation book, Sam + Lavi blouse, and Elena Rubin Carpe Diem lotion

Pro- It’s fun and will make make you very excited to check the mail. They sell it using the pitch that it’s like getting a mysterious swag bag at a fancy fashion party.
Con- It is clearly very pricey.

Ipsy: Created by makeup artist, Michelle Phan, famous for her blog with loaded with tutorials, this also includes samples and occasionally full sized makeup, hair, and body products from less familiar brands. The box looks nice, but it hardly differs from Birchbox.
-$10/month
A past box included- A makeup bag, Coastal Scents eye shadow palette, Mirenesse lipgloss, Bombshell mascara, Pequi oil treatment, and a Circus nail polish

Pro- Includes full sized as well as sample sized products. They are also open with what comes in the box. Members can review what they received and view past and even current arrivals. Best of all, the site operates like a social media platform where you can access awesome video tips and how-tos from other users.
Con- Seems awfully similar to what the ladies at Birchbox started but with a slight twist.

Sample Society- Beauty Bar and Allure have teamed up to create another box of deluxe samples. Each month you get sent five samples and a mini beauty magazine. You may get makeup, skincare, and/or hair products, and it seems most boxes come with more body and skincare products than makeup.
-$15/month with the chance to save money on a full sized item, it seems the value really ranges but is often 3x the price paid
A sample box may contain- Oscar Blandi mousse, Exude lipstick, Herbal Essentials towelettes, Lord and Berry eye pencil, and Borghese body lotion,

Pro- The brands are really pricey so even with sample sizes you get your money’s worth.
Con- Maybe it’s just me but it seems the contents aren’t that useful. I own a handful of eye liners and don’t need fancy body schmears or eye cream…even if it’s infused with caviar.

Glossybox- Another service that allows the you to share your preferences and promises that you will be satisfied with the careful arrangement of five samples to suit your fancy.
-$21/month
A previous box included- Tarte Glamazon Lipstick, OPI Sand Nail Lacquer, Sebastian Professional Potion No. 9, Narcisco Rodriquez Eau de Toilette, and Prime Style Extender

Pro- They reveal the products after they have been sent out so it makes it easier for you to decide whether or not you want to continue the service. Last month they had the blogger of the Man Repeller compile her favorites for a special box.
Con- At $20/21 (depending on how many months you choose) it’s a little steeper in price than some of the other deluxe sample sites.

I would love to hear your opinions and reviews on any of these boxes!

*Picture from Birchbox