What I’m Reading: Fashion Blogs

OK, so I’ve been a bit neglectful of the blog lately. It’s not that I don’t want to blog, or that I haven’t been buying lots of things I don’t need. I just took on a little more in my personal life (all good things!) that made it harder to blog. But that should be winding down, and I recently started at my new job that saves me almost two hours of commuting time EVERY day. Color me excited!

So since I don’t have any pics of the things I’ve been buying, I’ll share a few of my newly favorite fashion blogs. I could probably browse fashion blogs for hours. Oh wait, I do browse fashion blogs for hours. It’s sort of like Pinterest, but with some insightful writing (fashion insight, not like ‘secret to life’ insight).

I find most new (to me) blogs on Pinterest. If I like the way someone paired their cropped pants with ankle booties, chances are I’ll like how she styles skinny jeans too. Especially if she has a body type similar to mine. I guess that’s what I’m really trying to find: how can I wear these trends without calling attention to my least favorite body areas? Or if I see someone with my body type wearing something that I maybe wouldn’t have been confident enough to do, it gives me a little more courage.

OK, enough from me. Here’s what I’m reading now:

Both of these blogs are probably better categorized as lifestyle blogs because they aren’t solely dedicated to fashion…but I specifically like their fashion posts.

What I Use: Retail Me Not mobile app

What I use: Retail Me Not mobile app

What I paid: Free! Available on the Apple App Store and Google play

Since I used to work at a financial services company, I had the pleasure of working with a financial advisor for a deep discount. My advisor is well aware of my love of shopping, so at a recent meeting he suggested I download the Retail Me Not mobile app.

I had used the Retail Me Not website in the past, but it never occurred to me to see if they had a mobile app. My advisor and his wife also enjoy shopping (well, mostly his wife) — he said they’ve saved more than $300-400 so far. Yowza!

Since downloading the app on Friday afternoon, I’ve found several useful coupons for Old Navy, Famous Footwear and my mecca, Ulta. Not only are there coupons for retail stores, but there are also deals on restaurants. I saw at least one free dessert coupon. Who doesn’t want a free dessert? My advisor frequently visits a Jamba Juice that’s conveniently located near his office — he’s used coupons there on nearly all of his visits since downloading the app.

Other stores I saw: Toys R Us, Sears, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Chili’s, Bath & Body Works, Office Depot, Harbor Freight (this one’s for Dan!) and Express.

You can view the offers by category, but there’s also a neat option to view them by stores that are nearby to your location. That might come in handy when I’m at a particular mall and I could see all the deals available to me. I was able to select the Mall of America and it provided a long list of available offers.

Another option I like is to sort by “trending.” This gives you the most popular offers available.

There are plenty more features, but I haven’t used them all yet.

I need to put myself on a bit of a shopping freeze, especially with the holidays coming up and the shift from selfishness to buying for others. But hopefully this app will come in handy for those holiday purchases and my own mini-splurges.

Has anyone else had good luck with this app? What about Target’s Cartwheel? I’ve used it a few times and have saved a little, but seriously it was like 70 – 90 cents per store visit. I’m clearly not using it on the right items.

What I Use: CeraVe Cleanser and Moisturizers

What I use: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, Foaming Facial Cleanser, Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM and Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM

Where you can buy it: Target, Walmart, CVS, Walgreens

When I went to visit my dermatologist last spring for my annual mole-check, I was venting to her about my skin and my frustrations with moisturizers and cleansers. I had tried about 10 different cleansers over the last couple years and didn’t feel like any of them actually cleansed my skin. The cleansers all seemed to strip my skin of moisture, but didn’t make my face feel clean. The moisturizers never seemed to really sink into my skin, and my face grew extra greasy as the day went on.

My dermatologist recommended the CeraVe brand, so I decided to give it a whirl.

First, I bought their Foaming Facial Cleanser and Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM. I really liked the lotion — it felt moisturizing and it has SPF 30. I won’t buy any moisturizer without at least SPF 30.

The cleanser was OK. The bottle says that it’s for normal to oily skin, and I was pretty convinced that I had oily skin (which probably isn’t the case — I think I was using overly drying products which actually made my skin oily to try to make up for the lack of moisture). The cleanser wasn’t overly irritating to my skin, like some have been in the past, and made my skin feel clean after use. But my skin did feel a little tight after using it, so I wasn’t in love. I also use a few very drying topical treatments, so that didn’t help 🙂

To try to counteract the dryness, I later purchased the Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. I applied it right before going to bed. Because I’m pretty lazy, I didn’t make this a regular habit (until recently), so I saw some improvements in my dryness but not a lot.

OK, so here’s where the awesomeness happened. When I ran out of the Foaming cleanser, I went to Target to buy another bottle. I accidentally bought the Hydrating cleanser, but didn’t realize my mistake until I started using it.Hydrating-Cleanser

The consistency is way different from the foaming cleanser. It looks like you’re pumping a semi-transparent lotion out of the bottle. I seriously love this stuff. I’ve only been using it for a month or so, but it’s already helped drastically with my dryness (probably because this cleanser is for normal to dry skin). My face feels thoroughly clean after I use it, but I don’t have that mega-tight feel on my face.

It doesn’t irritate my skin at all. Most other cleansers would leave my face bright red after I washed. With this cleanser, my face just feels relaxed and soothed. It’s such a huge difference from what I’ve experienced before.

Now that the cold and dry weather is here to stay for the next 6 months (damn you, Minnesota!), I’m hoping this will keep my skin relatively flake-free. And hopefully I’ll be a little more consistent in using the PM moisturizer too.

What I Bought: LOFT Curvy Straight Leg Jeans

What I bought: Rinse Wash (dark, dark blue), Black, Darkest Cranberry

What I paid: $55.50, $55.50 and $47.60 (regular price: $69.50, $69.50 and $59.50) — these weren’t on sale (boo!) but I entered my email address on their website and got a 20% off coupon (the coupon was for full-priced items only).

loft-rinse

I hate jean shopping.

Let’s start with my body shape. I don’t think my body is weird, but apparently my proportions are not the same proportions any company on the planet goes by. I have a small waist (yay!) but wide hips (bleh!) and solid thighs (bleh!).

Then there’s stretch. Every company injects plenty of stretch into all of their pants, so no matter how excited you are about the fit in the dressing room, you’re told that the pants/jeans will stretch at least a half size. It’s so frustrating trying to pick a size that may or may not fit four hours after you’ve been wearing them.

Then there’s budget. Most of my jeans have been in the $30-50 range. I considered buying mega expensive jeans because I assumed they would solve all my problems, but they were exactly the same.

Because I’m leaving my current company for a new one that I’m super excited about (yay!), I decided now would be a good time to revamp my pant collection (I think I get to wear jeans on a regular basis at the new office, so professional and flattering jeans are a must). I went to one of my favorite places in the world, Mall of America, and shopped ’til I almost dropped. I had to have tried on at least 50 pairs of pants.

One of my favorite fashion blogs mentioned that LOFT did something new with their pant fits. When I went in, I read their 5-second fit. First you answer whether you have a hard time fitting your waist and hips. Um, yes. Then you answer if you typically have a gapping waistband but a good fit on the hips. Double yes.

This meant I was a Julie (or curvy). I focused on dress pants first and grabbed mostly Julie items, but took a few of the Marisa fit (which is kind of the middle-step between curvy and mega-straight). The Julie items fit better. Then I decided to try jeans.

In the store, the jeans weren’t classified by women’s names — it was just curvy or modern. I didn’t see any flare-leg jeans (maybe that’s a sign that women old enough to regularly shop at LOFT probably shouldn’t wear flare-leg jeans). I’ve always thought flare-leg was best for me because I thought it helped even out my proportions. But what I’ve noticed from full-length pictures of myself while wearing jeans is that it seems like the flared leg opening just put more attention on the areas where I didn’t want attention: hips and thighs.

I remembered Stacy and Clinton from TLC’s What Not to Wear saying long, long ago that someone with my proportions should try straight-leg jeans. I’d never done it before, but decided to give it a shot.

I fell in love. The jeans looked more like how I pictured skinny jeans looking on me, but in a good way. Typically skinny jeans will cling to my calves so tightly that you could probably see my muscles quivering or blood pulsating through the veins in my legs. No one wants to see that! I vividly remember wearing a bright coral pair of super skinny jeans one day. I crouched down to grab a sweater in a bottom drawer of my dresser and pulled a muscle, totally because the pants were SO tight. I hobbled around the rest of the day.

The straight-leg jeans seemed to skim over my legs without clinging. I still got the skinny-leg look without the sausage-casing feel.

I may have mentioned this before, but I typically think I love something, buy several of them and then a couple months later realize they are actually horrible looking on me. I’m hoping that’s not the case this time.

I’ve also wanted plum pants for awhile and fell in love with their cranberry corduroys. loft-cordThey didn’t have a curvy version of this (but you can find it online), so I tried the modern fit and was happy. The waist is a little big…but I want them for this upcoming weekend and am not willing to pay the shipping charges. So maybe I won’t wear them and I’ll order the curvy version later. I’ll see how I feel.

I’m wearing the dark wash jeans today and overall, I’m very happy. They haven’t stretched out — they fit the same as they did in the store (miracle of all miracles!). The waistband is a little higher than most of my jeans, which is more flattering…however, it makes them much less comfortable for sitting. I think I could still wear them to work, but I might have to get up and walk around more often. Or just refrain from eating 1,000-calorie meals.

I ordered a few pairs of LOFT ankle-length dress pants online (they were on sale and an extra 50% off this weekend). I’m hoping they make me as happy as the jeans do.

What I Bought: Accessories

all2What I bought: Lots and lots of necklaces

What I paid: On average, about $15 per necklace.

I have a problem. It’s called clearance sales.

Banana Republic had a sale on their sale stuff and I just couldn’t refuse. I bought a couple sweaters, but spent a majority of my time in their accessories section. I already have too many necklaces, but most of them are items I purchased in college. Not all of those purchases were bad, necessarily, but my style has changed. I think I’m also trying to shape my style “persona.” My goal this weekend is to sort all my jewelry and take everything that doesn’t “fit” me to my local Goodwill store.

statement

I love this necklace, yet it’s the only one I haven’t worn yet. All the tops I wore last week were too busy for this. I think it’ll be perfect for a plain black or white t-shirt. Maybe a chambray top…but we’ll have to see. Ha, it’ll probably become one of those things that I LOVE but never, ever wear. No! I will not let that happen.

naut

This one is classy, but subtle. Seriously, I am way into gold jewelry right now.

links

These will go with everything. I’m not sure if you can tell from the pic, but some of the chain links have little strips of what is supposed to look like leather wrapped along the inside. Love it. I’ve worn the gold one several times already — it’s a great piece to layer with other gold necklaces, which as I just mentioned, I happen to have.

beads

Pretty. The one on the left is silver with grey-blue beads. The one on the right is more of a rose gold color. I’m pretty sure BR had this one in straight-up gold too.

allMore pretty.

I also happened to have a $15 store credit to Forever21, and figured I could pick up a few necklaces there that might pair well with my new BR pieces. I only found a couple that I liked, and the total for both was less than $5. (Seriously!) While I wouldn’t describe them as super classy or professional, I think they’re adorable.

f21