Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Tutorials/Reviews

Baby’s First Review!

One of my good friends from Virginia Beach has recently started selling Arbonne, the skin, beauty, and healthy-living products with which many of you are probably familiar. Normally when I hear someone is selling something, I RUN the other way. I’ve had too many experiences where potential-friends have turned into actually-just-salespeople, and where real-life friends became consumed with hocking their wares. Or people I’ve not talked to in years are suddenly sending me facebook messages inviting me to parties in states I left over a decade ago.

But, Joyce is a good friend that I trust – and knew long before she started selling anything – so, when she asked me to review some Arbonne products on my blog, I was happy to help.

Joyce sent me some tea from Arbonne, a couple fizzy drink add-ins, and most exciting, a sample of the full RE9 Advanced Skincare line. One of the things I really like about this line is the convenience. Order everything at one time, and you’ve got a full line of morning and evening products to take out the thinking (I’m definitely a routine person; I don’t like to have to think about something as mundane as washing my face).

The set includes cleanser, toner, a serum, eye cream, and day/night moisturizers – 5 steps to better skin! Most of them have a delightful creamsicle scent. I can’t use the full-line; it wasn’t quite the right fit for my skin. However, the cleanser is HANDS DOWN the most thorough cleanser I’ve ever used. I wear two kinds of mascara, and taking it off at the end of the night is an impossible task that, even with eye makeup remover, leaves my washrags permanently stained. This stuff made eye makeup remover superfluous and left my skin so clean and refreshed.

Arbonne boasts natural ingredients, which I didn’t research enough to comment on. But, if you like a full no-thinking routine, it might be a great fit for you. Or, if you like a very thorough clean, the RE9 cleanser might be just what you’re looking for. Or, if you just like creamsicles. Regardless, Joyce would be glad to help you find the best products for you at www.joycereddinger.arbonne.com.

If you sell something you’d like me to review, please feel free to send me a sample or something, and I’d be glad to try it. But, keep in mind, that I might not buy your product myself because I’m cheap. And please don’t try to befriend me solely to get me to buy/sell something. That’s just rude.

Now, here is my own version of a (now out-of-season) creamsicle. Have a good Monday, y’all!

1-orange-blouse-white-skirt

Blurred Lines

Continuing the dress theme from Monday is another one of my old faithfuls that I’m a little tired of.  Actually, it’s not really that old – I bought it in India, so just a little over a year ago.

But, it doesn’t really fit me THAT well (or doesn’t flatter me that much, might be more accurate), so I don’t wear it a lot.  I think the problem is the neckline.  Since I’m more top-heavy, things that have such a high neck tend to make me look suffocated and matronly.  Add in the cut of the sleeves, and it’s just not the best look for me.

But, this is a Top Shop dress, and I have so few name brand things, I don’t want to just get rid of it.  Plus, the pattern is cute.  So, I played around with the lines.

Adding the statement necklace helped break up the top, distracting the eye from how closed-up I look.  Normally I don’t wear a statement necklace with a patterned top – it can be too busy.  But, I needed something to break up the plane of my neck/chest.

Second, I put on a wide belt, which allowed me to control where the waist of the dress was (the actual dress waist isn’t at a very flattering spot on me).   The belt not only defines my waist, which helps give the appearance of an hour glass figure, instead of an apple…  But, by placing the belt a little higher, I’m also lengthening my legs, again distracting from how top-heavy I might otherwise look.

I’ll be honest – these shoes kinda weigh down the dress.  It’s probably better worn with some leg-elongating pumps.  But, they were new ($11 with the Target Cartwheel app, y’all.  I’m telling you, you need to get on that!), and I liked the idea of the lace-up edgy look with the also edgy tribal print.  So, I stuck with it, anyway.

1 - top shop dress, lace up wedgesWhat do you think of my creativity?  Does it sufficiently distract, or am I only fooling myself?  Also, and maybe more importantly, have you jumped on the Target Cartwheel app yet?!?  If so, let’s swap good deal stories!  There are few things I love so much as a good bargain.

Dressing Your Age

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to write about dressing for your age.  It was a great suggestion, as I think it’s something a lot of people question as they age out of college/grad school, begin professional jobs, have kids, or just generally hit a new phase of life.

I’ve taken a little while to think about it, even doing a little research (by the way, there isn’t much out there that’s useful), and while I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules – whether about dressing your age or just about dressing in general – here are a few of the tips I’ve come up with:

  • Dress for the occasion.  As we mature, there’s more of an expectation to show up to events appropriately dressed.  Whether that’s “dressing for the job you want” and wearing a (pressed, well-fitting) suit to an interview (even to wait tables…); following the rules on wedding invitations (if it says black tie, wear something fancy); or wearing something a little nicer than a J.Crew cardigan to meet the Queen of England (looking at you, Mrs. Obama!), it’s important to know what the social situation dictates and follow those norms.  College students get passes; we don’t.
  • Dress in flattering clothes.  When we’re in high school and college, it’s easy to get into a rut of wearing whatever we can find.  I mean, we eat whatever we can find, so we might as well wear leftovers, too.  I have no problem with recycled clothing, but as we get older, it’s important to wear clothes that actually fit us well, rather than just hang on our bodies. Tailoring is the mantra of Stacy London from What Not to Wear, but if that’s not in your budget (it’s never been in mine), be choosy with your off-the-rack selections and if it really doesn’t do anything for you, don’t bother with it.
  • Keep modesty in mind.  Hemlines get longer, cropped tops become less cropped, inseams in shorts become more comfortable…it’s just a fact of life that these things happen (or should) as we age and fashion becomes more modest.  Notice I in no way said frumpy – believe it or not, you can look cute without wearing daisy dukes. But, if something begins to feel uncomfortable, it’s probably time to retire it or pass it down to a younger sister.
  • Figure out who you are.  I think this is one I’m still working on, but a lot of the women I’ve noticed who are definitely NOT dressing their age also seem to be having an identity crisis. They’re 50, dressing like they might have when they were 25 because they are stuck in that age of “figuring it all out”.   Learn who you are and what your style is – eclectic, feminine, edgy, hipster, traditional, etc.  Once you’ve discovered that, then you can learn how to adjust as you mature and still feel like yourself.
  • Choose quality.  You know I’ve always been a fan of “fast fashion”.  I like trends, and I don’t have a lot of money…therefore, I must buy inexpensive clothing in order to maintain my habit.  However, I’ve noticed that as I’m getting older, the stores I’m buying from are changing.  Sure, I still look in Old Navy and Forever 21, but now, most of my wardrobe is from boutiques or department stores. Of course, I’ll never buy without a good sale, but I now consider the fabrics and cuts, rather than just the style and price.  Shopping at better stores also helps with some of the above points – I tend to find clothes that flatter (since they’re made better and not for 12 year olds), and they tend to be more modest (again, because they’re not made for 12 year olds).
  • Choose trends wisely.  Not every trend will work for every age, body type, or personality.  So, rather than running after the latest thing, know yourself (see point 4) and pick the trends that best suit you. Then, you’ll own the look, rather than it owning you.

No matter our age, fashion is a part of life and it really is possible to be stylish until we’re 110 years old (my Granny was well-dressed until the day she died, just shy of her 92nd birthday). I think a lot of women, though, get so bogged down in the realities of life – job, kids, etc – that they lose sight of themselves and get stuck.  Don’t get stuck.  You are smarter than your clothes, so figure out what works for you, and embrace it!

Fashion can be overwhelming sometimes, but if it ever gets that way, find a good friend (with good taste) to go shopping with you.  Two heads are always better than one, they can talk you down from the panic ledge, and at the end of the day, you’ll feel so much better knowing you’ve conquered a fear.  And of course, I’m always happy to help!

What do you think about these dressing your age tips?  Any you would add to the list?  Any you disagree with?  How have you observed your style morphing as you’ve gotten older?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Essential Minimalism

You all have probably seen this article floating around lately: Why I got Rid of My Wardrobe.  Check out the whole article because it’s interesting, but the basic concept is simple: simplify your life by simplifying your wardrobe.  Instead of having a closet that spills out into the next three rooms, minimize with a few staples that you really love and replace them when you get too tired of wearing them.  Don’t accumulate.

I really like the theory behind this.  Neat and tidy closets are beautiful.  Simplicity is beautiful.  Making quick decisions when you are in a hurry is beautiful.  And, as another article that my friend Beth shared with me pointed out, many of the most successful people have a very basic wardrobe (think, Steve Jobs).  I would argue that these people are men, and very logical, not-artsy-at-all types, but nevertheless, the thought is that if you eliminate the time spent on less important decisions – like what you will wear each day – you have more time to focus on things that are higher priorities.

Sounds great, and if that fits your lifestyle and relieves stress in your life, then please, go for it!  For me, I would be sad without my clothes.  Honestly, it doesn’t take me very long to pick out an outfit (usually. If I’m going on a date, all bets are off), and it is so much fun for me to put things together, that I would feel deprived of my morning play time and artistic expression.

But, I realize many people are not like me.  So, at Beth’s suggestion, I thought I would give my list of some essentials to keep on hand, should you decide to pare down.  The article suggests  a 37 piece wardrobe: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets.  So, here is what I would pick, were I to only have 37 pieces (gasp!)

Tops:

  • White button down
  • Chambray shirt
  • Black cardigan
  • Colored cardigan
  • Neutral colored tee (I love gray)
  • Fun colored/graphic tee
  • Tunic/Kimono (something should be trendy, anyway)
  • Denim jacket
  • Black blazer
  • 6 more things that you just really love – trendy or classic.  If you’re going to rotate them out as you tire of them, you can choose whatever you want (within your budget, obvs)

Bottoms:

  • Pencil skirt – grey or black. Universally flattering
  • Dress jeans
  • Black jeans
  • Skinny (or whatever cut you like) jeans
  • Grey/brown dress pants
  • Non-jean casual pants in a neutral color (neutrals can be loosely defined; mint green would be a nice choice!)
  • Casual cotton skirt
  • 2 more things you really like (I love skirts, so a couple fun skirts would fill my last two spots)

Shoes:

  • Nude pumps
  • Black dress shoes (pumps or wedges; I don’t mean strappy sandals)
  • Ankle boots
  • Neutral wedge sandals
  • Neutral flat sandals
  • CUTE flip flops (if you’re reading this blog, you’re too old for Old Navy $3 flip flops for anywhere other than the pool or beach.  #sorrynotsorry)
  • Deck shoes or another casual loafer/moccasin
  • 2 more that you just love – as if I could ever narrow down my shoes to 9.  I take that many for a 5 day business trip.

Dresses: (I think you need at least 3)

  •  Little Black Dress
  • Cotton sundress (or a church dress; either one)
  • Shirt dress (chambray or black; can dress up or down)

Jackets: (I don’t know whether she means coats or blazers, but I went with the former)

  • Trench
  • Pea coat

Of course, depending on your lifestyle, this list will change.  I tried to think of a universal business casual wardrobe, but if you’re an attorney, you’ll need a few more suits (like, you know, at least one.)  If you’re a SAHM, you may opt for fewer professional clothes.  But, this list is, in my humble opinion, a good starting place.  Also, this list is more spring/fall oriented.  Summer/winter wardrobes may look a little different.

As you can see, I’m not counting special occasion clothes – for most people, they’re rare enough not to warrant taking up a whole slot in one of the categories.  Just be sure to recycle or rotate them out if you’re really going for the minimalist thing.  And I did not count workout clothes (keep your free t-shirts under control, y’all) or pajamas.  This real estate is too valuable to give it to boring items.

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to jump on the simplified life train, or do you need some more convincing?  Or, like me, is the whole idea completely appalling to you?  What about my list – agree, disagree, see any essentials I forgot?  Let’s talk!

Oh, and if you actually do this, I definitely want to see before and after pictures!

A LBD and A French Braid

Finally home…I love traveling, I really do.  And this past week, I was in my favorite place in the world: Nashville, Tennessee.  But, it’s always good to get home and back into a routine.  I’m a creature of habit and glad to be back in the saddle.

A couple of weeks ago, I wore this look, and ended up really loving it, although it evolved almost by accident from a simple black dress. I was speaking for work again, so like the look I showed you last Tuesday, I started with something basic so I could add some Rahab’s Rope accessories.  All of the jewelry I’m wearing, plus the headband, are from my work (which, if you don’t know, is a nonprofit that works with women and children in India who are at risk or have been victims of human trafficking; you can order some pretty things here.)

I really love this for two reasons:

1) My red lipstick actually looks good.  Almost every time I wear red lipstick, I think I look like a clown or a 5 year old who got into her mom’s makeup bag.  But this time, it miraculously worked.

2) My hair.  I could not get this headband to work for me and not make me look like a complete flower child.  But, necessity (and pinterest) are the mother of invention, so in part inspired by some old pins I’d seen, in part just plain experimentation, I ended up with this awesome braided look.  If you can tell from these pictures (don’t mind the note on my mirror; it’s just a love note one of my besties left me recently, and I like it, so it stays), I wrapped the front of my hair around the headband twice on each side (like I do when I’m curling it), and then I French braided it from there, and voila.  It’s probably my new bad hair day go-to.

wpid-0422150934a.jpg
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1 - black dress, headbandHave you ever invented a new hair style?  Share your secrets in the comments; I’m always looking for new tips!

Dressing for a Date

I mentioned last week that I’d gone on a date…and it did not go well.  I mean, he was nice and picked a good restaurant.  But, I knew before we met in real life (since we’d originally met online…of course) that it wasn’t going to be a good match.  And my suspicions were confirmed that night.

So, we soldier on, but I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about dressing for a date.  It’s always a little tricky to figure out what’s appropriate, especially for what is essentially a blind date, and even more especially if you’re going somewhere you’ve never been (i.e., everywhere I go in Georgia).  I can’t really help with a specific date outfit in a generic blog post (but feel free to email me anytime you have questions about dressing for an event, and I’ll be glad to weigh in!).  I can, however, comment on what is most important to any good date impression – confidence.

First dates are inherently awkward and nerve racking.  No matter how many I’ve been on, I still feel some sort of nerves every time.  But, confidence helps – when I feel good about myself, namely my appearance, I’m a little more at ease and can focus on the myriad other things stressing me out.

It’s really easy to pick an outfit that boosts your confidence – build it around your favorite feature!  I know we can list a billion things we each don’t like about ourselves, but I think everyone can find at least one thing they DO like about themselves (and if not, please let me know and we’ll work through that together).

For me, I like my legs.  I mean, they aren’t Carrie Underwood’s, but even as my weight has fluctuated over the years, I’ve always felt good when wearing a skirt. So, you’ll pretty much never see me wearing pants on a date.  Plus, I love looking as feminine as possible when going out for the first time (that’s not a rule – just what I personally really like.  So no condemnation if that’s not your jam.)

Maybe you really like your arms, a la Mrs. First Lady, and sleeveless tops are your go-to.  Maybe you’ve got J-Lo junk in the trunk and your favorite pair of jeans makes that really pop.  Or maybe it’s something even less obvious like your forearms – a stack of bangles highlights a pretty wrist.

Whatever it is, chances are, if you like it, other people will, too.  And there is nothing so attractive – to either sex – than confidence.  So, embrace yourself and highlight what you love!  You’ll be better off for it.

To showcase this outfit, I included two full shots – the one on the right has much better lighting and more accurate colors, but I cut off the shoes when taking it.  So, you get both.  I was pleased with this outfit – feminine and flirty, but still casual enough that I didn’t look like I was trying too hard (because, honestly, I definitely was not).  My only complaint was that I wore this infinity scarf on another first date, and I hate associations like that.  Oh well.  Can’t win ’em all.

1 - purple skirt, infinity scarfWhat do you like about yourself?  Do you dress to accent that when you’re wanting to make a good impression/feel good about yourself, or is that something you can start to work on?

Maybe she’s born with it: eye makeup review

Before we go any further, let me say that the dress is definitely blue and black.  To be fair, the first time I looked at it, I did think the black looked a little metallic, but never did it occur to me that the dress was white.  The argument has now been settled, though, thanks to scientists and Photo Shop.  But, the moral of the story is next time you’re unsure about the color of an article of clothing – ask a fashion blogger.

Moving on…

I’m working on a make-up tutorial – not sure exactly how that works with the mirror situation, but I promise to try to figure it out, guys!

In the meantime, I thought I’d review my favorite drug-store eye makeup. I go through stages in being a little obsessed with things. With jewelry, I was really into rings for a while, then earrings. These days, I’m all about bracelets. I was super excited about froyo for a good 3 or 4 years. Now, I can’t seem to get enough of cupcakes.  And so it goes. (I get this from my mother. I remember very distinctly a summer when I was in elementary school when our home was never without Sunkist in the fridge. My mom’s also told me about her Saltine cracker phase and the vending machine PayDay candy bars in college. It’s a family thing.)

Anyway, I’ve done the same with makeup.  Lip gloss had my heart for a while, and then I tried to be a grown up and make lipstick happen (it didn’t).

Its-Not-Going-to-Happen-Mean-GirlsI’m currently infatuated with eye shadow. I don’t know why – maybe it’s because there are so many different colors, most of which are socially acceptable to wear. Or, maybe it’s because the MAC counter lady/YouTube tutorial on Carrie Underwood’s smoky eye have helped me finally get the hang of this thing. Whatever the case, I love, love, love eye-shadow.

My favorite brand is MAC, of course, with Urban Decay coming in as a close second.  There really is a difference between the high end brands and the cheaper ones, in terms of coverage, ease of application, and pigmentation.  But, it’s hard for me to justify spending $40-70 on eye shadow on a regular basis.  So, for the most part, I use the drug store brands.

Enter ULTA.  I love their eye makeup.  I’ve tried a lot of different cheapo brands, and ULTA has consistently proven the longest lasting and the best pigment/strongest color of any that I’ve tried.  It’s not the same quality as MAC/Urban Decay, but it is definitely a good, much less expensive option.

For the look below, I used a compact that came in an ULTA free gift with purchase.  I collect these things like I used to collect pogs – the color combinations are always amazing for a smoky eye, and they don’t sell these pre-made combos in the store (just individual colors).  So, I always make sure I snag the free gift.

wpid-wp-1425055081807.jpegFor my eyeliner, I used an automatic liner in Black Plum from ULTA.  I really like colored eye liner (done in deep, rich colors, it’s a nice accent, not a scary, pre-teen experiment), and ULTA’s automatic liners, as well as their gel pencils, are both easy to use, pretty smooth in application, and long-lasting.  And they can be found on sale for $1 or $2, if you have the patience to wait for it. wpid-wp-1425054397039.jpeg Lastly is mascara.  I actually don’t particularly care for ULTA’s mascara – it’s the one product in their eye line that I’m not impressed with.  I’ve tried a couple different varieties, and it just generally seems pretty dry and ineffective.  But, I do have a favorite cheap brand, and that’s Maybelline’s The Falsies.  I haven’t ever tried expensive mascara, so I can’t really compare.  But, of the many different drug-store varieties I’ve tried, the Falsies is definitely the best.

wpid-wp-1425054821496.jpeg And here is the finished product – don’t mind my hair. wpid-wp-1425002995558.jpegULTA has a great rewards/coupon program, and they are always running specials.  So, if you’re a makeup junkie like me and have not yet signed up, I would recommend doing so ASAP!

I probably should mention that neither ULTA nor Maybelline has paid me or in any way even knows about this review.  If they learn about it and want to pay me to review their products, awesome…but if not, consider this my contribution to society for today.

Have you all tried ULTA – what do you think?  What’s your favorite drug-store brand eye makeup?  Let’s talk in the comments, and have a great weekend everyone!

The No-Heat Hair Miracle

I know I promised it months ago, but guys, I finally made a hair tutorial on my curling technique!  Of course, because it’s me, I have to give a few disclaimers first:

1) I have no idea how to combine these two clips.  Sorry you have to click play twice.

2) The first one is a little long.  But we’re all iced in, anyway, right?  What else do you have to do for the next 7 minutes?

3) The curls in my second video are really not a great representation – they’re kinda loose and sloppy, especially in the back.  But, don’t blame the technique; it’s my fault for doing a hurried job this morning (I was late to work), but being too impatient to get this tutorial up to wait until the next time I was iced in to remake the second part of this video.  Here’s a picture of what they normally look like:

wpid-0117152056.jpg(Also, Nashville, I miss you!)

With those caveats in mind, may I present to you, the Pinterest no-heat curl thing by Sarah Beth!

Part 1: The Wrapping

And because I did promise you a picture after I’d slept on it. These photos are not retouched in any way – y’all, it does not move!
wpid-wp-1424134641411.jpegAnd Part 2: The Unwrapping

And that’s all there is to it!  What do you think?  Something you would try?  Do it, and send me your pictures!  Can’t wait to see them!

Moving on Up

Hi everyone, and welcome to the new and improved Tastefully Trendy!  If you’re viewing this on a phone, it probably doesn’t look that different or exciting.  Sorry.  But, if you’re on a desktop, your life is kinda changed forever, right?  I thought so.

I was so excited about all my newly acquired HTML knowledge, that I was going to build this site from the ground up.  Then, reality set in and I realized that, with my skill set and depth of expertise, doing so would take me, oh, about 17 years.  So, I still kept a template, but I’m happy with how it turned out. Let me walk you through a few things – just to be sure no one gets lost in the wonder of it all.

First of all, those tabs across the top look pretty snazzy, don’t they?  I’ve decided to branch out a little bit from my daily outfits and include tutorials (I’m going to shoot for once a week…so maybe once a month is a realistic expectation) to product reviews (these will be products I purchase for myself, of course, until I can get someone to send me their items to review for free), and what I’m most excited about, “That Single Life”.    As probably all of you know because you’re my facebook friend or have been following my blog and I hold very little back on either platform, I’m now 30, and still single.  I didn’t choose this life – it chose me.  And, with this position comes great responsibility…to share all the ridiculous stories that happen to me.  Out of respect for those involved, I’ll change the names and maybe some of the details.  But, men, if you recognize yourself, I apologize.  Just think of me as the real-life Taylor Swift.

So, what do you think?  Do you like the new template and/or new direction?  (Don’t worry, I’ll still post about my outfits most of the time – it’s what I do best!)  Do you hate it?  Are you personally offended that I compared myself to Taylor?  Let me hear your thoughts in the comments!

(BTW – I can change that block of text in the center to a logo…if I had one.  If any of my graphic design friends are bored one day and want to just draw me up something pretty, I wouldn’t say no.) 

Oh, and just so this post isn’t entirely text, here’s a selfie of what I wore to watch that horrible Super Bowl last night.  That is all. wpid-wp-1422933388848.jpeg

How to Train Your Scarf

Hey guys, I have a surprise for you…I made a video today!

I hear so often that people don’t know how to wear scarves, so I thought I would do a lesson.  I taught college history for a while – this is almost the exact same thing.

(Warning: This video may cause vertigo. Sorry it’s a little disorienting – it was my first attempt at a video of any type.  I’ll try it on my actual camera next time and probably get a better picture that doesn’t blur every time I move my hands, but I was too lazy to do it all over again now.  Also, it’s a little long. Also, also, this is a ridiculous face that the video chose for a thumbnail, but I don’t know how to change it.  If you do, please tell me.)

As I mentioned in the video, the scarf below works well for the bow because it is just so long.  I tend to wear white for a little while after Labor Day, provided the weather is still warm and the rest of the outfit is anchored with more season-appropriate pieces.  The heavy scarf and boots did just that.

1 - bow scarf, ankle bootsWhat’s your favorite way to wear a scarf?

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