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Makeup Mania

I’ll admit.  Makeup can do wonders.

The difficult part of it, however, is striking the balance between just enough and overdoing it. So my general philosophy is less is more (read: I usually don’t bother.)

Slowly but surely though, I have been coming around to makeup. As a result, I have been doing a lot of experimentation with makeup options. So let’s go through my typical makeup routine.

The Necessities (what I use is in parentheses):

My makeup arsenal.

  • Foundation (Neutrogena Skin-clearing oil-free makeup in 20 Natural Ivory)
  • Concealer (Almay Clear Complexion Concealer in 100 Light)
  • Eye liner (Maybeline Unstoppable Eyeliner in Pewter)
  • Mascara (Sephora Waterproof Black mascara)
  • Eye Shadow (Covergirl Eye Enhancers in 260 Coffee Shop)
  • Lip Stain/Lipstick (day- Covergirl Outlast Lipstain in 400 Everbloom Kiss, night- Revlon Just Bitten in Gothic)
  • Lip Balm (Nivea Kiss of Milk and Honey)

Skin:

My skin is notorious for stress breakouts, so concealer and foundation has become my typical standard. If I get anything on my face in the morning, it’s concealer. I use a concealer that also has acne-fighting components in the hope that I wont have to use quite as much concealer tomorrow. I follow up the concealer with a light foundation, but I still dont cover my whole face. Instead I focus on problem areas, red spots, and dark circles under my eyes (the occasional late college nights are starting to catch up to me.)

A fresh face is like a canvas. 🙂

Eyes:

Again, I have two looks for this one. My average, everyday look is eyeliner and mascara. I have very narrow eyes, so I love anything that can make them look a bit wider.  A tip I picked up is to only line the top lid halfway, and make the line a bit thicker at the end.

Basic eye makeup

When I want to dress things up a bit, I’ve learned a nice smoky eye effect (via Molly Bowen, fashion muse) to make my eyes pop a little extra.

Smoky eye: Step 1

Adding to the basic liner/mascara combo, put deep brown shadow on the lid, keeping it below the crease. Put gold shadow above it, blending where the two meet.

Smoky eye: Step 2

Lips:

I don’t own lipstick. Instead, I have developed a love for lip stains. They last longer, and have the pigmentation of a lipstick without the shine of a gloss. The downside to these is that they tend to dry out my lips.

So the general lip routine is pink lip stain, let it set for 30 seconds, then follow up with a lip balm ( I love Nivea’s Kiss of Moisture or Kiss of Milk and Honey) For special occasions, or when I want to feel like a bombshell, I switch things up with a rich red lip stain. If I want a little extra shine, I put lip gloss to top it all off, but it tends to disappear quickly.

Still love your lip gloss or lipstick? Exfoliate your lips with a toothbrush or damp paper towel before applying. Apply a first coat, then blot. Apply another later. Your color should last longer and stay looking great.

The full look

Got any foolproof makeup tips? What makeup can’t you leave the house without? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter!

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

Slowly but surely I’m starting to figure out what fashion is, but there’s still a few problems left to conquer. I’ve realized that there a a few places my closet could use some help. There’s just one small problem.

I have a tiny budget.

I mean, it makes sense, I’m a college student, most of my money goes towards books and printing costs, (still trying to get our room printer fixed) not to mention food and other essentials like soap. So my fashion budget is pretty small. So today’s post is going to focus on bargain hunting.

In my search for good fashion steals, I stumbled upon an About.com article about sale prices. Not only do they explain how stores get prices, they also explain how many bargains happen.

They note that many merchants will double the cost of production as their retail price, others will mark up items higher, then “discount” them to a more reasonable price. i.e. have the price of a $20 shirt as $50, then mark it off as 20% off, or $40. By having an understanding of what a typical price is, you can determine how big of a deal you are getting.

As for that item that is at a ridiculously low price? There’s a few reasons for that too.

One is that its the end of a season, so demand for that item is about to fall. In a similar reason, an item may be on sale out-of-season, such as jackets or boots in the middle of summer. Other reasons include that an item came in at the end of a fad, or simply the item didn’t sell well.

This is making me wonder how my $100 dress that I got for $26 was so deeply on sale.

Then again, I did buy it on Christmas Eve.

Of course, many times there are times where style is more important than price. Here are a few rules that I’ve been learning (and yes, I’ve broken a few of them.)

1) Don’t just buy it because it’s on sale: I dont care if its a $5 pair of dyed jeans, if you’re not in love with it, don’t buy it. I can think of several things in my closet back home that I bought solely because it was a sale, and I didn’t think about if i would wear it. Use good judgement. And just because its a certain trend or designer, doesn’t mean its automatically something you must have.

2) Splurge only on classic items in durable fabrics. Its no use paying $50 for a dress that will be out of style in a few months, or a shirt that will have holes in it after a few wears

This leads me to…

3) Look for good return policies. This is a big one especially for internet shopping, because sizes may not work out or colors may not be as they appeared on the screen. But even for in-person shopping, if something has a problem (rips after the first wear for example- I had this problem with a pair of pajama pants) you want to make sure you can exchange it or get a refund.

Got any good bargain-hunting tips? Share in the comments, or catch me on Twitter! The best may be in a future post!

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

This past Sunday, I headed to Columbus for the All Time Low/Yellowcard/Hey Monday/The Summer Set concert at LC Pavilion. I picked by outfit with careful consideration. Because the band I was dying to see was Yellowcard, I grabbed a white Old Navy T with yellow stripes to pair with my dark washed jeans. To follow my own advice from a previous post, I threw on my black vest to dress things up a bit. Throw on a pair of brown Sonoma sandals, and I was feeling pretty ready to rock out.

Me with Sean O'Donnell Yellowcard's bassist. More on that later.

Perfect outfit, right?

Wrong.

What I had forgotten to think of  was that I was going to this concert with my best friend, and die-hard Yellowcard fan, Eric Miller. Because of this, I forgot that we would be spending most of the concert in “the pit” or the area in front of the stage. I neglected to think of the implications of spending several hours in a mosh pit in an attempt to get as close as possible to the stage.

To admit, we were fairly successful in getting close. By the time Yellowcard got onstage, we had reached the second row of the pit.

I didn't use the zoom on my camera for this. We were that close.

In my defense, this had been my first time going to a concert where there was a mosh pit, so I came with few notions of what exactly I had gotten myself into.

So this was a lesson in dressing for the occasion, and dressing properly. While most times if you show up looking amazing, you’re fine. But there are sometimes when just looking good doesn’t quite do it.

So here are a few of my lessons learned for dressing for a concert.

1) If you’re going to be in a mosh pit, dont wear anything open-toed. As cute as my brown sandals are, my toes did not thank me later. I ended up with a chunk of toenail missing from each big toe. Im still amazed that i didn’t feel it, but my feet we’re probably numb by that point. Lots of jumping. My feet got stepped on a lot. As Eric put it “Dumb move.”

Great shoes, not good for concerts.

2) While the t-shirt was a good choice, I was quick to discover how hot the pit gets. Pack a couple hundred people into a space meant for half that many, and its going to get awkward. The vest was not such a good choice. All the bumping, shoving constant motion of the crowd made it easy for the vest to get caught on things, which did happen.

3) I actually followed this rule, but it was because I was warned. If you buy a t-shirt at a concert, you are required to wear it the next day. I absolutely love the shirt I got. Its jersey style with 3/4 length sleeves. Its the super-soft, favorite old tee type of material that makes this shirt not only fashionable, but comfortable too. Added bonus: It has signatures from the bassist and drummer of Yellowcard on the back right sleeve.

Front of shirt

Back of shirt- signatures on sleeve.

So chapter read, lesson learned. I’ll be dressing better for the next show

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

Just about everyone has an item that has special meaning to them. It could be a vacation souvenir, a good luck charm or a gift from a friend. Many times these items come in the form of an accessory.

For me, my accessory with a story is my ring.

I was born the day after my maternal grandfather’s birthday and was also his first grandchild. Shortly after I was born, he left for a business trip to Brazil. While he was there, he bought me my birthstone, an aquamarine.

The stone was kept in my mother’s jewelry box until I turned 16, which was when my grandparents had it set into a ring as a birthday present.

My grandfather passed away last November, but I still have the ring to remember him by.

I’m not the only one with a story,

Denise Weybrecht also has a ring that is special to her. She had bought it on a trip to Hawaii her junior year of high school. The relationship to her trip was one thing, but she has bigger plans for her ring. She would like to hand it down to her daughter (or son’s wife) as a gift. “I kind of want to start a generational thing with it,” she said.

Fellow blogger Emma Frankart (and Ohio University graduate!) sent me a few of her stories.

One of Emma’s friends and former coworkers, Kree, runs an Etsy store where she sells the jewelry she makes. All of the pieces are named after women in Kree’s life, and these earrings are Emma’s namesake. They both agreed that the colors reminded them of the ocean. When Emma left for a new job, Kree gifted her the earrings as a going away present.

This necklace was from Emma’s boyfriend. It was a Christmas present, and the first piece of jewelry he had ever bought for a girl. According to Emma, he was really nervous that she wouldn’t like it.

“It means so much to me that he tried so hard to pick something I’d like, without me ever telling him my preferences. He knows me so well!”

The final story from Emma that I would like to share comes with this pearl necklace. Emma’s father traveled frequently for work, and always returned with presents. On a trip to China, he had gone to the Beijing Pearl Market to get necklaces for Emma, her four sisters and her mother. He was able to hand-pick the pearls and watch as the vendor strung them. Emma notes that she not only loves the color, but also the fact that the pearls are a little irregular, a sign that they were natural rather than man-made.

So, readers, do you have any accessories with a story? Share it through a comment below or send me a tweet or email. (@aebrighter, ab275109@ohio.edu)  I can’t wait to hear from you!

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

Before I get into the meat of this post I have a quick request for you.

For this Friday’s post, I would like to focus on jewelry or other accessories that have special meaning to their owners. I have a few stories of my own, but I would love to include your stories as well!

So send me your story (and a picture of your item, if you can!) and I will try to include some of the best on my next post. My email is ab275109@ohio.edu, send me a twitter message to @aebrighter or send me a message on Facebook. I’m listed under www.facebook.com/aebrighter

Thanks Guys!

So anyway… forget diamonds, if it’s jewelry, I love it. I have a thing for all sorts of jewelry, so it only makes sense that I include a little bit about jewelry on here.

So lets start with what I have the most of…

Earrings

The basics

The fun!

I started noticing as I went through my earrings (and actually my entire jewelry collection) that I really favor silver and blue. I’m fine with that, because my closet is dominated by blues, and silver goes with just about everything.  I do have some gold, but I dont wear it that often. My earring collection is probably the most diverse of all my jewelry, and its something that I can find something to match any outfit, anytime.

Bracelets

Big collection here...

I dont really wear things on my wrists. I own exactly two bracelets: one was a gift from my boyfriend for Christmas, the other is a set of gold bangles. Obviously, the bracelet I wear fairly often, but I find that when there are things on my hands, I play with then too much. Which bothers me, even though I’m the one playing with them. Go figure. This rule also applies with rings. I only have a handful, and I didn’t bring any of them with me to OU.

Necklaces

I almost have as many necklaces as earrings. Again, there’s a lot of silver and blue in this bunch. Some I have perfectly paired with certain outfits.

Example

I wear this with my polka-dot dress. I feel like the pearl pendant gives a nice nod to the polka dots without being to matchy.

But jewelry doesn’t necessarily have to perfectly match your outfit though. I’ve discovered that pieces that are slightly varied shades of main colors, or even pick up on some detail colors tend to pack the most punch.

One interesting jewelry experiment I would like to try is mismatching earrings. One of my friends pulls this off on a daily basis, and it really fits her quirky and fun personality. I’ll give it a try if you do, and send me your photos!

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

There is something about wearing a t-shirt and  jeans. Its comforting, easy to wear and takes no thinking. In a rush in the morning? T and jeans. And while anyone can pull it off, and its hard to go wrong with it, the look is uninspired.

Its also my standby. To be honest, im usually wearing solid color v-necks. Nothing fancy. And while i do have a weakness for the occasional graphic t, my t-shirt drawers (yes, there are two) is mostly sold tees and a lot of shirts that i got from various groups and events I participated in.

So today I’m making it my mission to keep my comfy, simple t-shirt and jeans style while still making it look like I put a little effort in it.

Layer a jacket

Okay this isn’t a jacket. its a button up thats gotten a little tight in *ahem* certain areas. So i took one of my solid shirts and just throw the buttoned shirt on over. Another variation is using sweaters. You can get pretty creative with color combos, or just stick with neutrals in either layer.

Belt

There are two ways to use the belt. One is using it just with the shirt to make a high waistline- key is having a shirt that lets you make this waistline, not always easy. The other is to wear a sweater (or in this case a flowy vest) and belt it. A good elastic belt is a great choice. Get something in neutral colors so you have flexibility in using it.

Don’t wear jeans

You can wear a tee, just change it up by pairing a t-shirt with a good skirt. Suddenly a t-shirt doesnt look like a t-shirt anymore, its a dressy date-night outfit. Because I have a lot of solids, this black and white print skirt was a good choice. I can pair it with about any color, so  I can wear my tee and have color and fun patterns too!

Vest

I love the look of a vest over a t-shirt in order to make it look a little bit more dressy. It adds a bit of formalness to an otherwise dressed-down outfit.

Scarves

Its a simple solution, add a scarf to the standard. Tie it around your neck, wrap it around your head, even use the scarf as a belt. Scarves are a flexible accessory.

Camis

Got a low cut v-neck or scoop neck, just but a cami underneath for a little extra sparkle or a lacy, feminine touch.

So pick one, combine a few… be flexible! Send me your pics and ideas! What is your “fashion standard” and how do you keep it fun and fresh?

One special question I have for you: What to you do to make your event t-shirts (usually unisex t’s) fashionable? Still working on that one… teach me!

Keep me posted @aebrighter on twitter or leave a comment below! I look forward to hearing from you.

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

Special thanks to Marrett Laney for helping with photography.

Back to Basics

What’s next in discovering style? Of course a closet makeover. I hear about “closet essentials” all the time, so of course the journalist in me had to investigate. After consulting blogs, friends and my own fashion needs, I discovered that there are few things on my shopping list. This is good for a girl on a cash-strapped budget.

So let’s start with what I already have.

1) The trenchcoat.

Its a classic staple, and I’ve already found it. I bought this baby at Old Navy over Winter Break, and I couldnt wait to bring it to campus Spring Quarter. Its a piece of style that makes me feel like I’ve just walked into a detective movie. According to my friends, it makes me look like a journalist. I’ll take that feeling any day.

2) Little Black Dress

Okay, so its not all black, but this is my equivalent to it. Its sleek and classic and has just the right amount of sparkle. It’s sexy without being too revealing. And I got it at a ridiculously low price at JCPenney. Cheap and makes me feel awesome? Check.

3) Ballet Flats

I was so glad to see this one come up. I cant walk in heels. I’m working on it, but its a work in progress and not always fitting to the brick streets of Athens. So I have fallen for the easy, comfortable ballet flats.

4) Cardigans

I actually have two: a blue and grey striped one which pairs perfectly with a cami and jeans, and a black slouchy one that goes with anything. Always convenient. Both let me jazz up my basic t-and-jeans combo. The cardigan has gone far beyond Mr. Rodgers, its all grown up.

5) Slim Skirt

My version is a simple jean skirt, which works perfectly for most casual occasions when I want to be a bit dressy. I could probably improve on this one, but for now it will do.

6) Dark Wash Boot Cut Jeans

My old ways are validated! While i did for a time fall in with the skinny jean crowd, dark washes and well-fitted boot cuts won me back. My go-to pair is the Levi 524 cut, which is the best fitting jean I have ever found.

7) Vest

It’s probably not on most fashion essentials lists, but my tuxedo-style vest is definitely on mine. Over a basic, solid color t, it adds a little class to my everyday outfits.

On to the shopping list:

1) The Blazer

Ideally I want something well tailored and well made, probably in black. Simple, lightweight. a good blazer automatically makes a girl look polished and professional. The photo above was a Old Navy blazer, but they sold it three years ago, so its out as an option. I’ve been looking, I guess I just havent found the perfect candidate yet.

2) Classic White Blouse

I’ve had a few of these over the years, mostly as part of required concert outfits for orchestra. A white blouse and black slacks are a classic combination, but since they bring me back to middle school concerts, I’d love to update them with some fun jewelry, even scarves. But I can’t try it until I buy it!

So am I missing anything? What are your fashion essentials? Let me know in the comments below or send me a tweet!

(Almost) Fashionably Yours,

Amy

Photo Credits: Black Blazer- Polyvore.com, White Blouse- azcentral.com others- personal photos.

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