Use Statement Pieces to Add Style to Any Outfit

How many times have you stood in front of your closet, with a complete lack of enthusiasm, exhausted by the daunting thought of styling another outfit? I know I’ve been there plenty of times, groaning out loud “I have NO clothes,” with over 100 pieces staring back at me. Sometimes, all it takes is a little re-purposing and a few key pieces to add life back into your closet.

We’ve all seen a woman wearing simply jeans and a tee but managing to look impossibly chic. While fit is an important factor here, oftentimes, these ladies are using a statement piece to pull together their outfit. Statement pieces typically fall into the outerwear or accessory category and can range widely…a showy necklace, bright or patterned shoes, a luxe bag, a chic scarf, the list goes on.

The point is, that you can use one statement piece to pull together the most basic clothes into a stylish outfit. The statement piece is the cherry on top. Here are a few of my favorite examples.

THE STATEMENT NECKLACE

basics 3 basics 4

THE BLAZER

basics basics 5

THE STATEMENT SHOE

basics 2

basics 6

Notice how each of these outfits consists of basic pieces that every girl should have in her closet. Make sure you have a few expensive-looking statement pieces on hand, and next time you’re having a lazy day, try one of these quick combos, and you may just find a new avenue of opportunity in your wardrobe.

At-Home Solution to Add Volume to Your Lashes

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you know that I’m a huge advocate of cheap, at-home solutions to enhance the beauty features that we all want. LONG, FULL LASHES. Who would not want bigger eyelashes?! If you’ve ever applied fake lashes for a special occasion or when getting your makeup done as a bridesmaid, you know there’s some *magic* there. It’s surprising how much additional, longer lashes can change one’s appearance. In fact, I would argue that eyelashes are the single most impactful feature on a woman’s face. If you could only keep one product from your makeup bag, what would it be? For me, it’s hands-down mascara.

So when I heard about this simple little trick, using a product I had in my bathroom drawer, I had to know.

baby powderBaby powder.

“The science”: after one coat of mascara, the baby powder sticks to your lashes, plumping them up and adding volume. You then cover with one more coat of mascara.

While it really is that easy, there are some pointers to keep in mind, which I’ll cover below.

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Your $8 Ticket to Younger, Healthier Skin

As the song goes, beans have been called the magical fruit (“Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you…”), however, I’m going with grapes as the magical fruit. Grapes are a part of my every day — whether it’s my afternoon snack, my fermented evening drink, or slathering them all over my face before bed.

fermented grapes

No, I’m not actually suggesting that you soak your face in crushed grapes…rather grapeseed oil. Don’t stop reading if you’re an oily-skinned girl like me, because I promise this is not like the “oil” you are thinking. I first got the idea to use grapeseed oil as a moisturizer from the aesthetician who was giving me a facial about a year ago. She claimed it was the only moisturizer she used on her (flawless) face and had amazing benefits. She ranked high on the hippie-scale, incorporating as many natural products as possible into her daily life. I definitely wasn’t sold on the idea at first, but began thinking more about how much it did make sense to use something on my body that came naturally from the earth, rather than from a chemical lab. Plus, a big bottle at the natural products store was $8, so what was there to lose? A year later, I’m a firm believer in the stuff.

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How Would You Rate Yourself? Average or Beautiful?

coco chanel quote

What percentage of women do you think would classify themselves as beautiful? Would you be shocked to hear that it’s only 4%? Reading that statistic was heartbreaking for me. Sure, selfies and social media amplify the issue of self-esteem and opening yourself up to criticism, but perfection standards on women have been around for centuries. A woman is expected to be a perfect wife and mother, to keep a tidy home, all while looking like a polished Barbie doll.

Dove recently released a powerful and inspiring campaign (below), based on challenging women to see themselves as beautiful. Which door would you choose?

http://www.popsugar.com/beauty/Dove-Choose-Beautiful-Campaign-37231246?utm_source=beauty_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=beauty_newsletter_v4_04092015&em_recid=152522316&utm_content=placement_8_desc

A Place of Peace

I would call my memory of childhood a vague one. Unfortunately, most of my vivid memories are tarnished by a family situation, and somehow seemed to consume that allotted space in my brain and push out the happier, less important ones. As a result, I’ve found in my adult years that I have significantly fewer memories of childhood than my friends and family. I figured the most likely situation was just something specific to my brain, whatever that may be, until my younger brother (and only sibling) expressed the same discovery to me only about a year ago. He brought it up to me in casual conversation and said he feels like he “can’t remember anything compared to other people” and attributed it to the dark cloud that unfortunately shadowed many years of our young lives. I was surprised at how much I struggled to recall a childhood memory of a “happy place” or a place that I felt at peace when I sat to write this post. As I thumbed through the files of my mind, a memory popped out at me and I could recall the details so clearly. It was as if I was almost standing there again in that spot. I contemplated for awhile about why this memory had stuck with me, and I still don’t have an answer. Nothing significant happened in that place and time, but something significant must have taken place in my mind.

It was dusk as I stood at the end of the gravel road near my grandfather’s shed. The rest of the family was in the house just 100 feet from me, but I was completely alone in that space. Not lonely, just alone in the quiet. If you’ve ever spent time out in the vast country amongst fields and farms, you know the profound silence and stillness that you can experience. I saw nothing move around me and heard nothing in those few minutes of reflection. I remember staring up at the sky, and realizing it was vaster and wider out there than I had ever seen. The shade of blue immaculate and constant, until reaching the orange and pink clouds gathering over the setting sun in the west. The sun could no longer be seen from my viewpoint, but the radiating dark orange light signaled its departure. The day was closing in a beautiful and graceful manner, and I was just one little morsel standing there. The crisp cool air of the fall brought a sense of lightness to my being. I had no breakthrough revelation, just a deep experience of peace as I felt my existence in those few beautiful moments.

My mind nowadays is so busy and full of emotion, that I can’t imagine being able to experience such a feeling of peace and ease again. All of the clutter disappeared standing there on my grandparents’ drive and I felt complete comfort. No movement, no trouble, no hurry. I was free to just be.

I’m making a commitment to myself to have more moments like these. However I can find that peace, those times are so important to refocusing ourselves and appreciating the gift of life.

Nostalgia: Hair of the 90’s

The 90s were characterized by some awful (or awesome – however you look at it) trends that are humorous to look back on. Between JNCO jeans, bowl cuts, pant chains, and Doc Martens, I seriously question how some of these fashions became popular. I could go on and on about this fond era of my younger years, so I’ll focus my attention to one area…the hair.

Marie Claire posted this article with a compilation of some of the best celeb pics sporting the 90s hair trends. Let’s hope these ones don’t come back around, but in the meantime, I’ll be digging up my butterfly clips just in case.

A Necklace with a Purpose

As a kid, my hands were message boards. Every day I had some kind of reminder drawn onto the back of my hand, whether it was a school reminder, a personal motto that I was striving for, or a drawing that lifted my spirits. I temporarily inked my hands to bring my focus back to some idea throughout the busy day. Once I realized how juvenile this looked in college and how much it clashed with my new bracelet, I broke the habit. For many years now, I’ve kept reminders on post-it notes, a digital list, or as the wallpaper of my cell phone.

While I would not encourage someone to tattoo their grocery list on their bicep, many people use permanent ink as an eternal reminder of their personal mottos, lessons, or beliefs. Although I don’t have a tat myself, I believe in the importance of surrounding yourself with daily reminders of the person you want to be. We have the freedom to express ourselves individually through our fashion, our homes, and our other surroundings. Whether an object speaks to your heart in a deep and personal way or is simply a material item that you enjoy looking at, we paint the world closest to us in our own colors.

This necklace originated as a playful gift from my husband, who knows me all too well, but has a deeper importance to me. While “Like a Boss” is a light-hearted phrase, every time I clasp it around my neck, I’m reminded to be confident in myself and my abilities. I look in the mirror and remember the kind of person that I want to be and prepare myself to conquer my own little corner of the world. Since I’ve often battled with self-esteem and confidence, it’s a fun (and super cute) way to lift my spirits and make me smile.

Sometimes it’s the simplest of things that knock us back on track and re-focus us in the busy, stressful life that surrounds us.

Necklace from Etsy here.

What is Balayage? A Lesson in Highlights

Recently, I’ve been taking on the daunting task of switching over my closet to my spring and summer wardrobe. I’m about halfway through because you never know what the early spring weather is going to bring — today I’m working outside in shorts and flip-flops, and Thursday we are expecting snow! Mother Nature is so moody sometimes…

Beyond my clothes, I think of the change of seasons as a time for a beauty refresh. It’s time to bust out the shimmery eyeshadows and nude lipsticks that had to be separated from my pasty white skin all winter. This year I also decided to freshen up my look even further by changing my hair. I’ve never been a fan of doing anything drastic with my hair and prefer an overall-natural look. Luckily, the newest color trend in salon is balayage.

Balayage = hair painting

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Loving my new color!

Balayage is a hair technique where the highlights are hand-painted on by the stylist, sans foil. The stylist scatters the highlights throughout the hair, often focusing lightness around the face, to create a more natural look than the linear pattern followed in standard foil highlighting. Balayage also follows the ombre-like technique of beginning the highlight a few inches from the root, to again create a soft, sun-kissed look. This also means that there are no glaring dark roots and less upkeep!

Overall, it’s a great option for the beauty girl who wants to brighten up her look, while maintaining her natural “I woke up like this” style.

There is no time like the present…

Begin doing what...quote

Procrastination. It’s something that most people struggle with, and I certainly have, since my elementary school days. It’s easy to understand why people procrastinate daunting tasks, such as writing that paper, cleaning out your closet, fixing the roof, or making that uncomfortable phone call. But, why does it seem that we also procrastinate our dreams? That vacation that you’ve always wanted to take, the career change that you’ve been pondering for years, moving away to a new city, starting a blog…I’m sure you can think of several desires in your life that you pushed off. (And if you can’t, then you’re a badass and I respect your courage)

There are obvious things like financial restrictions that hold us back, but the common excuse seems to be that “it’s not the right time.” I’m learning more and more each day that there’s usually not a perfect time for those big dares and adventures in life. It’s not because they’re not meant to happen, but rather, they defy routine and the unwritten rules of our daily lives. Wake up, drink coffee, go to work, go home, eat dinner, unwind, sleep, and restart. Keep a steady job, don’t rock the boat.

My husband and I experienced this feeling as we discussed, contemplated, and dreamed about the decision to move away from our home base in Kansas City. We put the decision off for years actually, waiting for certain pieces to fall into place. But once those pieces were settled, there was always another floating piece needing to fall in place. Once we made the brave decision that we were going to move to CO, we put deadlines on ourselves in order to keep the ball rolling. We gave our 60-day notice to our apartment complex, visited Denver to begin looking for a home, and eventually it all fell into place.

Mapping out and taking individual steps is key to beginning the process of reaching your goal, whatever that may be. Our adventures and our dares are often the moments in life that help us to grow as a person by learning more about ourselves, our abilities, and the world around us. Personally, I would rather take the chance of my dream/goal not working out than have the regret of never trying.

Remember, there is no time like the present.

P.S. – Some extra logistical encouragement from Huffington Post

All About…Fringe

fringe outfit

If you have signed on to Pinterest in the past month, flipped through a fashion mag, or have started scouring the stores for your spring wardrobe, you know that fringe is BIG. I’m a huge fan of fringe and already have some staples in my wardrobe and many ‘wants’ scattered on Pinterest board.

Fringe Wrap

Have you ever stopped to wonder who decides the trends of each season? I know that the runway styles tend to filter down to the fashions for us regular people, but who makes that first decision about what trend will be scattered across the runway and across designers? I doubt that Ralph Lauren, DVF, and Mara Hoffman schedule a tea time to sync up before NYFW. I digress, but it’s fun to think about…

fringe vest

Fringe gives your look a Boho feel and accomplishes making your outfit perfectly imperfect. It’s an interesting twist on your typical piece of clothing or accessory, and can be worn across all parts of your style — from tops, sweaters, and vests, to handbags and even jewelry.

These are some of my favorite fringe inspirations!

fringe booties

fringe necklacefringe model