Monday, September 27, 2010


Who among use doesn't like a good coat? They can dress up or dress down an outfit, they distract from baggy tees and sweatpants when out running errands, and they're comfy yet stylish. So, how many coats should you have? Well, if my closet was the example...then somewhere around 10. Ugh...wrong. It's a sickness! Don't judge! If you're a coat enthusiast too or just a bit confused on how to build your outerwear wardrobe, then maybe this post will help us all out. Here is the figurative Winter/Fall closet of someone who is 1.) on trend and classic, 2.) practical, and 3.) far more organized than I am:

A) Trench Coat, Old Navy, $49.50
B) Wool coat, Anthropologie, $228 (available in black too)
C) Cropped coat, ABS, $180
D) Low temperature coat, Laundry, $315 ($180 in
E) *Optional* Trend coat, Alice & Olivia $340, or leather jacket, Michael Kors, $240

The trench coat is perfect for transitioning between seasons and fortunately just about every clothing line has a version. 

The wool coat is a cornerstone in any wardrobe because it is both a professional staple and functional for cold weather. Consider a colour other than black to mix it up. 

The cropped coat is perfect for weekends or casual events. This is also a great coat to have when transitioning between seasons.

The down jacket/low temperature coat is necessary and totally worth spending a bit more money on as this style and function will never become obsolete. Make sure to find a jacket that is weather proof and covers your butt!

The trend coat is optional for obvious reasons, it's not really necessary but it's a fun piece to have in your wardrobe. Practically speaking it's probably better to find a trend coat from a cheaper brand so that you can swap it out next season, but some "trendy" styles really are just classic styles in disguise. Pick a black, gray, or cream coat if in doubt. These jackets are perfect for evening occasions like holiday parties and going out at night.

glossspot sig

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Season to season our skin adapts - or attempts to adapt - to the changing environmental conditions. Personally, my skin has gotten more congested this September, which I suspect is a symptom of the changing temperature and less time spent in the sun. Besides a change in season some of us are just more genetically predisposed to enlarged or clogged pores, depending on the amount of sebum (oil) your skin produces. So if you fall into either category there are some simple skin solutions you can use to get your skin smooth and clean looking again. 

Just a quick aside, ANYTHING will look huge and ugly in a magnifying mirror. So, chances are your pores are not nearly as huge and gnarly as you think they are!

What are blackheads?
Those nasty little guys are plugs of oil and dirt stuck inside pores. If you have them it usually means you need to exfoliate more consistently. 

Why do some pores look bigger than others?
Usually, this is just an illusion thanks to overactive oil glands in certain pores on your face (usually around the nose, chin, and forehead). The extra oil adds shine and can make pores appear darker and larger than other pores on your face.

Calming down pores and keeping them clean is all about the right skin routine. So try this if you can relate to any of the above:

Nighttime routine:
  • Wash face with a gentle skin cleanser and face cloth. The face cloth acts as a physical exfoliant and ensures that all of your makeup comes off. If you really don't want to use a face cloth, then try double cleansing - ie. wash face, rinse, wash face again, rinse. 
  • Now, here's the key to getting rid of blackheads: Apply a chemical exfoliant - BHA - to keep skin clean and smooth. BHA (Beta-Hydroxy-Acid) also calms down oil production which is helpful.
  • Apply a regular moisturizer to parts of skin that are dry (like cheeks), if necessary.
Facial Cleanser: Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser; or Clean & Clear Foaming Facial Cleanser for Sensitive skin; or Neutrogena One Step Cleanser; or The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin.
BHA: Neutrogena 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment; or ProActive Clarifying Night Cream.
Daytime routine:
  • Same routine as above, except make sure to use an SPF over the top of the BHA once it has had a chance to sink in. An SPF will prevent further stretching of the pores via sun damage. Just make sure to use a bland moisturizer that will not clog pores.
Occasional routine:
  • In addition to the chemical exfoliant (BHA lotion) and the wash cloth, you can also use a GENTLE exfoliator whenever you feel your skin needs a little extra smoothing or cleansing. I like to exfoliate my face in the shower once my skin has softened from the heat and steam.
  • You can also try an at-home exfoliant by mixing a bit of water and baking soda into a paste and gently scrubbing skin.
Exfoliators: Boots Expert Sensitive Gentle Smoothing Scrub; or Marcelle Hydra-C Complexe Exfoliating Gel; or Olay Definity Pore
Refining Scrub
If you're in need of clear pores ASAP, you can consider those Biore pore strips. They won't solve the reoccurring problem of clogged pores, but will clear them out in 5 minutes - results will last a couple of days max. Some people have bad skin reactions to them because of the irritating glue, so keep that in mind. Try the routine above instead if you're unsure!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ombre Hair

 Ya, the 'grown in roots' look is intentional. And I like it. Do you?

This hair colour technique is ideal for the summer because it's easy to maintain (um, there's really no maintenance!). This look can also work for Fall & Winter 2011 too, as well as be worn by any hair colour. (P.s. it's pronounced "Ohm-bray")

Before I get into the HOW TO, here's some "Please do not do"'s:




Ok so despite what celebrities and models want you to think, Ombre hair is usually achieved with hair dye, and not via natural hair growth - even though it looks like natural root growth. 

First thing's first, if you don't have experience with hair dyes, then stop right there. Don't go any further. Ombre hair is not a good "first timer" hair dye technique. But, if you've coloured your hair before and you'd like to try the ombre hair technique on the cheap without the help of a salon, then follow these steps:

Number 1: What hair colour do you currently have? 

media_bbb001.jpg image by medagreat
Blonde - You'll need to create the illusion of roots by dying your crown a darker hue, and leaving the ends as is. 

Brunette - You can either lighten your ends (which will require at least two applications of bleach) or you can deepen your roots, depending on how dark your hair is currently. 

Red/Amber - Similarly to brunette you need to figure out if you want your ends lightened, or your roots deepened. 

Number 2: Once you've decided what technique to use (i.e. Either darkening roots or lightening ends), select the colour family you are aiming for. The closer the two tones are, the more natural it will look, and more easily it is to blend away the transition point between the two colours. A good guide is to select colours that are 3 shades away from each other on the scale (go to for a more in-depth scale).

Number 3: Choose semi-permanent hair dyes instead of permanent because the results will fade away gradually and you will be able to cover everything with one shade down the road if you choose not to do ombre hair next time. 

Now on to specifics...


To darken your roots, select a shade that is 2 or 3 times darker then your current shade - don't go any darker or else it will look unnatural. When the dye is mixed and ready, brush out your hair to remove knots, section into 4 sections with plastic clips, and use a hair dye brush (available at all drugstores in hair aisle) for added control. Now paint the dye starting from a centre part in the middle of your head, and work your way out in an organized fashion (not the time to be sloppy). Depending on the length of your hair, stop the dye 3 - 5 inches down from the scalp. Follow directions on the box, and rinse when ready. There shouldn't be a strong demarcation line if you've chosen a colour that isn't too dark; just 2 - 3 shades darker.


Sometimes you can create the illusion of lighter ends by darkening your roots, (i.e. if you're light brunette/caramel/light red). If you'd rather not bleach your ends, then try the instructions above for darkening roots. Otherwise, you will probably have to bleach your ends, as opposed to just using a blonde box dye, to achieve adequate lightening without orangeyness. To do this, you can either purchase a highlighting kit from the drugstore - results aren't guaranteed though - or buy powder bleach and 30 vol developer from Sally's Beauty

Mix the bleach solution - if you purchase the powder and developer then mix 2 parts powder to 1 part developer (2 ounces v. 1 ounce). Brush out hair to remove knots and section into four sections with plastic clips. WEAR GLOVES. Paint bleach onto ends, making sure to rub (gently) the bleach into each section of hair - in other words, make sure the bleach is really coating each side of each hair, instead of just sitting on the top layer. Let sit for 10 - 15 minutes depending on what the directions say and how fragile/coarse your hair is. Watch your hair! Once you see that it is yellow (not orange), rinse and condition. 

Finally, dry hair to see full results of bleach. Depending on whether you like your results you can either leave your hair as is with just bleached ends, or you can apply a semi-permanent dye over top of the bleach to tone down any orangeyness or bring the colour to a more natural shade (in the blonde or light brown family). If you think your hair needs a couple of days to bounce back, then deep condition and wait 2-7 days, then apply the semi-permanent hair dye. Chances are your hair will feel like it's in better condition with the semi-perm over top because it fills in all the holes in the hair shaft that the bleach creates. Keep that in mind. 

Remember you can make it as dramatic or subtle as you like...

 img from llymlrs

 (somewhat) Dramatic:

Also, try searching for videos on YouTube on how to create ombre hair (there are lots), as the visuals might help you out too. 

Hope that inspires some do-it-yourself ombre hair! Goodluck!

P.S. I didn't like my brassy hair colour after hours being outside in the sun this summer, so I ended up doing both processes for ombre hair: I deepened my base and lightened my ends. I didn't want an obvious ombre look though, so I used a semi-perm hair dye over the bleached ends in a light brown colour to compliment the deep brown base (did the base 2 days before the bleach, and made sure not to double process). My theory is that as the semi-perm washes out the lighter bleach will gradually show through, creating a caramel colour. SCIENCE!!! I'll let you know how it turns out!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Bookmarks

September is probably always going to feel like a "new year", even if it's just symbolically a new year for us non-students and non-teachers. So here are some great online resources I've found to help us collectively wrap our heads around this figurative fresh start. Everything from budgeting, weight and health, gossip, beauty and fashion.  (Post your favorite or useful websites in the comments!)


Anyone else a fan of Gail & "Til Debt Do Us Part?"..? Check out her website for GREAT online resources, like debt calculators and budget spreadsheets. Everyone needs to have a budget even if money is no object.

Click here for the online budget guide. Click here for Gail's fantastic website.


If you've ever wanted to shape up or lose weight then you will relate to Jen over at She's got great exercise and food tips and will keep you inspired and on track towards your goals. 


Ree Drummond over at The Pioneer Woman Cooks is part cowgirl, part mom and part fashionista. She has amazing recipes - some old school, cowboy inspired and healthful ones. 


I LOVE interior design...especially when it's budget friendly. If that peaks your interest too, then check out Design Sponge.


Bookmark these babies.

Great overall website showing us how to use technology to our advantage day-to-day.


Look, we all need a little junk food for the brain now and then...these sites are free and awesome, so don't feel guilty.


Need a little European inspiration? Check out Lookbook