I promised a beauty series, so I thought I would kick it off by talking about my cleansing routine. My freckles really don’t like to share the space, so here’s what I use to keep my complexion clear.

         

            \Natural & Curly by Kasia Pilewicz\

I’m a low maintenance girl, so from cleansing to makeup, I like to K.I.S.S. ;)

1. Cleanse - Morning/Night

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Clenser

         \Aveeno\ \Clear Complexion\ \Foaming Cleanser\

What I do: Pump 3-4 pumps of foam, massage into my face and décolletage with gentle circular motions. Don’t forget the back of the neck!

Why I like it: The foam is really what gets me because something about it feels luxurious and fun. I love that Aveeno is based on oatmeal (soothing and great for the skin) and it’s one of the few facial cleansers I can use that won’t break me out and keeps me blemish free!

Where to get it: Any drug/grocery store or online @ Aveeno

**CC Cleanse Tip: Problem skin is sensitive skin. Choose something mild and use gentle, light circular motions when washing and exfoliating. Never scrub, always rinse 2-3 times and pat dry.

2. Tone - Morning/Night

                           Neutrogena Alcohol Free Toner

                                          \Neutrogena\ \Alcohol-Free Toner\

What I do: Soak a cotton pad and squeeze out most, but not all, excess. Rub gently over my face and décolletage leaving a light layer of liquid behind. Let dry 5-10 seconds before moving onto step 3.

Why I like it: Gentle is the name of the game, and toners are notoriously harsh due to their alcohol content. Some people feel like the sting lets them know it’s working, but it also lets you know that you’re being harsh on your skin! I love this because Neutrogena is a tried and true brand (the first “cleanser” my mom gave me at 13 was an old fashioned bar of Neutrogena glycerin soap!) and because it gets the job done, no stinging required. 

Where to get it: Any drug/grocery store or at online @ Neutrogena

3a. Prevent - Morning 

Dr. Murad's Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel

 \Dr. Murad\ \Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel\

What I do: Squirt 1.5-2 pumps and smooth over my face from nose to chin and neck. I use 1 pump for my forehead area. Smooth over skin as gently as possible. I use this no more than once per day, and sometimes skip days if my skin is feeling dry or tight. 

Why I like it: I actually have mixed feelings about Dr. Murad. Before I found my way to my fantastic dermatologist, I was using their full line of prevention products, and suffering terribly. I’ve come to realize Dr. Murad’s is too strong for sensitive skin, which is true for many products targeted at breakout-prone skin (see my comments on Clean and Clear below). Coupled with the idea that you somehow should scour the blemishes from your face, people make the mistake of using too much, too often. I only started liking Dr. Murad (and finding it effective) when I used very little, no more than once per day.

Where to get it: Sephora Stores or Online

**CC Prevention Tip1: Err on the side of caution when dealing with sensitive skin, but experiment to find out how much of a product and how often works best for you. The instructions given on the label may not work for you, so don’t be afraid to deviate. Just remember, less is often more!

3b. Prevent - Night

                                Clean & Clear Popped Pimple Relief

Clean & Clear\ \Popped Pimple Relief\

What I do: Apply a dollop to any areas where a blemish has formed (or if I feel like one will form), allow to dry over night. Rinse well in the morning. 

Why I like it: This is the ONLY Clean & Clear product I will use. I find all of their products too harsh, and they cause me to break out. I said it before and I’ll say it again BE GENTLE, especially when using benzoyl peroxide, sodium lauryl sulfate or salicylic acid!I like it because it works well on new pimples, plain and simple. In a day or two, they’re toast!

Where to get it: Any drug/grocery store or online @ Drugstore.com

**CC Prevention Tip2: For real prevention, see a dermatologist. This is my skin mantra, especially if you have insurance. Even if you don’t, all the facials in the world aren’t worth a trip to a quality dermatologist. Normally, I prevent using a prescription product, which is gentle and has a sulfate derivative as the active ingredient. I use Dr. Murad’s to hold me over any time I’m overdue for a visit or RX refill. 

4. Moisturize  - Morning and Night (as necessary)

          Aveeno Positively Ageless Moisturizer with SPF 30

\Aveeno\ \Positively Ageless\ \Youth Perfecting Moisturizer SPF30\

What I do: Apply one good sized pump all over face, neck and lips. When I want extra moisture, I cover my face with a thin layer (so that it looks pale white) and let it soak into my skin. 

Why I like it: It’s a little heavy for summer, but nothing beats a great moisturizer in the winter. It’s not greasy and leaves my skin incredibly soft! 

**CC Moisturizer Tip: You need SPF protection year round. You can apply it separately, but it’s easier if you combine steps. I prefer to combine mine with my moisturizer, but some foundations have SPF as well. And don’t forget to apply to your lips, for moisture AND sun protection! 

Where to get it: Any drug/grocery store or online @ Aveeno

Coming Up on Curvy Conquers:  More Beauty Series! Stay tuned for makeup reviews/recommendations, model interviews and more! 

There’s a really great spoof ad flying around the interwebs in which photoshop is touted as the newest beauty product: Fotoshop by Adobé. It’s hilarious, and makes light of the (ridiculous) terminology we see in every beauty product advertisement today. 

Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

While this may seem ridiculous and extreme to a lot of people, as models we are intimately familiar with Photoshop. My agent, who was a +model in the “old days,” often reminisces back to when photographers retouched their work by hand and models had to be true to their measurements and blemish free. But a lot of today’s models get a “free pass” via the healing brush tool, liquify, and a variety of other great tricks to make us look top-notch. No working model today would post a raw (read: not photoshopped, or “retouched,” as finished pictures are more commonly called) photo in her book, or these days even on Facebook (at least not if she wants to be taken seriously. We’ll talk about that in another post). 

People may cry foul, especially when Kim Kardahsian and other celebs can easily go from this:

Kim Kardashian no makeup

to this:

Kim Kardashian

with the help of Adobé’s beauty line, but it’s a necessary evil to be a successful model. Sometimes, it’s worth fighting to try and change the industry, but for better or worse, some trends are here to stay. In a world where our daughters and sons grow up with a very pervasive, very unrealistic standard of beauty, I think the responsibility falls on the parents (easy to say especially since I’m not a parent), but also people like +sized models, to show that diversity of all forms is beautiful. 

Model Tip for Today: Put your best face forward with polished images. Photoshop is a reality of the industry, so use it to your advantage. Be careful not to have over-retouched images; it’s very easy to overdo it and look plastic. Instead make sure your photographers or photo editors are focused on enhancing your natural qualities and adjusting minor flaws like small blemishes, stray hairs, the under eye area, and especially lighting. If you’re +sized, it might be tempting to have yourself liquified into a slimmer version, but resist! Use liquify sparingly to adjust that little bulge where your shaper slipped, but leave your hips, stomach and behind alone! 

And if nothing else, always remember: 

the truth about advertising

Next Time on CurvyConqers: We’re going to stay on the topic of beauty. I’ve been asked to talk about my makeup and skincare regimes, so I’ll show you how I make sure the only spots on face are my freckles! 

Part I was about the changes I hope to make to Curvy Conquers for 2012. This part is about resolutions!

Part II: 12 in 2012

My good friend E., author of the absolutely amazing relationship blog Barbie’s Dream House and a brand new blog Best. Life. Ever. started up this idea a few years back that instead of making 1 or 2 resolutions for the New Year, the number should correspond to the year that we’re in. It started with 9 in 2009 and continues to this day. I started participating last year and made 11 for 2011. I got through 5 or 6, which is great considering back when I made 1, it was usually forgotten before the month was out. Writing out goals in a public place helps (some) people be more accountable for them, which is why I’ve decided to share mine with you. I’ll post on my progress throughout the year; here’s hoping I make it through all 12!

Here are my 12 resolutions for 2012, in no particular order:

1. Get in Shape. Everyone makes a weight/physique-related goal in the new year. Man, woman, skinny, overweight, EVERYONE. Usually I say, I want to lose X pounds. How often has it happened so far? I’ll let you guess. So instead of putting a number on it, I’m making a commitment to myself to find a workout program I can stick to. Instead of losing X pounds, I want to walk up the 3 flights of stairs between the 3rd and 6th floor of my building without being winded. I want to play Just Dance with K. and not have my arms be sore the next day (unless I’m playing to work out). I want to keep track of my sugar and sodium intake, learn to cook the “old fashioned way” (see goal # 3), and experiment with new ways of eating. And If I lose X pounds doing it, even better. I will find a workout plan that works for my schedule and interests, do it at least 3 times a week and stick to it for a full 11 months (giving Jan to find my plan). 

2. Post Regularly to Curvy Conquers. Did I mention I feel bad about how little I posted after my launch? Cuz I do. But 2012 isn’t about guilt, it’s about actions. And as I stated in the New Beginnings post, I’m not going to limit my topics here. I’ve recently been reading a lot of Penelope Trunk’s blog, and I really admire her candidness. Somehow she posts about careers (her main area), but also relationship, her kids, her life, with the same authority. So expect to see outfit posts, and beauty routines, and behind the scenes modeling stuff. And adventures in relationships, job/career, travel, cooking and anything else posts. I will post at least twice weekly, with hopes of going up from there. And if I start slacking, I hope you’ll hold me accountable too.

3. Learn to Cook the “Old Fashioned Way”. My family has a cooking gene, and I’m lucky to have it on both sides. Both my paternal and maternal Grandmothers are amazing cooks, and I swear my paternal Grandmother should have been a professional chef (unfortunately she is from a time where women didn’t work outside the home unless they had to. She’s also a masterful painter, both skills self taught). What that means for me is, I can follow any recipe and have it turn out as it should, if not better. I’m not bragging, it’s just something I’ve always been able to do. But I want to do more. I want to understand the ins and outs of cooking, learn knife skills, how to make sauces from anything and more. I want to take what is intuitive to me and enhance it, so I’m approaching this the “old fashioned way”, which is to say, with cook books and cooking classes. The first will be easy, the latter harder. I will purchase 5 basic cookbooks this year, read and cook from them, and enroll in at least 1 cooking class. 

4. Complete the First Draft of My Novel. My first love and passion is writing, and they say good writers write every day. Posting to Curvy Conquers will help with this, but I also have an idea of a novel swimming in my head, and I’ve been wanting to write one for years (one of my bucket list goals, which I should probably write down one day). I will complete one first draft of my novel by the end of 2012.

5. Learn a Musical Instrument. This is a carryover from last year. I’ve vowed to learn the piano or guitar, or both if I get ambitious, because I’m always wanted to. I’ve also wanted to learn to sing, and I know learning an instrument is helpful. I will learn to play either the piano or guitar via self instructions or lessons. 

6. Take at least 1 International and 1 National vacation with K. This Year. This is a carryover from last year, but a goal that was completed (St. Martin/Marteen and New Orleans, respectively). But I want to do it again. We really enjoyed St. Martin/Marteen last year, but I have my eye on Iceland and France. I’d also like to visit San Diego. If you’ve been, or have a good suggestion of where to go, I’d love to hear it. I will take at least 2 vacations, 1 international, 1 in the US, with K. this year.

7. Increase Charitable Giving. This was something I did successfully in 2011, but I want to keep it on my radar. Specifically, I want to donate to the Josie Ratley Fund. Josie Ratley is a girl who survived an attempt on her life at age 15, in which she suffered severe brain trauma to the point that she must relearn everything. Today, at age 18, she has the mental abilities of a toddler, although she is improving all the time. For some reason, her story really touched me and it’s important to me to donate to her this year. I will donate to at least 5 charitable organizations, including the Josie Ratley Fund. 

8. Volunteer. This is self explanatory. Right now, I’m most likely to volunteer at the Bottomless Closet, but I’m also especially interested in areas of career or self-image mentorship for young girls. If you have any suggestions for mentoring girls in the NYC area, hit that Write Me link up top and let me know. I will volunteer at least once per month in 2012, as soon as I find an organization to get involved with.

9. Spend More Time With Friends. It’s easy to get so busy with work, modeling and spending time with K. that quality friend time can fall by the wayside. I will make sure to spend time with friends at least twice a month, including those not in the immediate area. 

10. Prioritize & Restore My Financial Health. My whole adult life, I’ve believed I was bad with money. Now, I don’t think anyone is bad with money, but much like food and working out, people often don’t set boundaries or routines, or they may just be uneducated on the subject. Late in 2011, I elicited the help of a few people who have financial boundaries/routines and the equivalent of an ivy league education in matters of personal finance. With their guidance, I feel I am on track to get financially healthy! In 2012, I will stick to a budget, pay off all debts (except student loans, which are longer term), take on no new debts, increase my 401(K), and save across several different methods. (Hopefully this will allow me to begin an investment portfolio as well, but that may be a goal for 13 in 2013!) 

11. Organize and Clean Out My Apartment. I’ve lived in my apartment for 3 years, the longest I’ve been in 1 apartment without moving since I was 18. And I’ve accumulated the junk that goes with it. This year, I will clean out and organize all of my closets, get rid of accumulated things, stop “collecting” mail, basically clear out the junk!

12. Keep up with my Professional Field. Working with websites and mobile apps means things change fast. I don’t just use facebook because I like it, I use it so I can understand how it works, and what it’s limitations are so I can advise my clients. There are a lot of great blogs devoted to documenting my industry’s changes but because I’m busy I’m pretty crappy about reading them, although I am good about finding other ways to keep up. In the past, I’ve had collegues who would come to work a whole hour early just to spend the time reading industry reports and blogs. This year, I will make a list of UX blogs/publications and read them at least once per week. 

So there you have it, my 12 in 2012. What are your goals this year (even if you’re not making 12)?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! WOOO!! 

I started writing this post and it got really really long. Because it’s my job to understand user behavior, I don’t expect your attention span to be long enough for both (not an insult but a fact). So I’m breaking them into 2 parts. Part I: New Beginnings will tell you about my plans for Curvy Conquers. Part II: 12 in 2012 will tell you my New Years resolutions, and why there are 12. I hope you’ll read both! 

Part I: New Beginnings: A little bit of rambling, a whole lotta promises. 

Okay, so I’m a little late with my Happy New Years. As you may know, my “9-5” is working full time in an advertising agency, and we had 2 pitches in a row in the month of December. Anyone who’s worked in or is familiar with the ad industry knows that pitches = insanity, and if you’re unfamiliar, pitches are what we do to win new business, which means showing how awesome we are in a very very compressed amount of time. So now I’ve just indoctrinated you! =D

To be specific, the last month of 2011 saw me working 15+ hour days, weekends, a few all nighters, and lots of traveling! But I love my job, and I was surrounded by brilliant, creative people who kept my fire burning even when the going got tough. My scheduled coupled with my lack of photographer meant that Curvy Conquers suffered, and for that I am truly sorry. 

When I launched CC, I wanted to take readers on a journey that included all things fashion, design and culture, from a window into the plus modeling world, to discovering my personal style, to restaurants/events and beauty topics. But during the break, I had time to think about CC and the direction I want to go. There are so many things I want to share with you guys, from fashion/style to relationships to career posts. I warred with myself over whether to keep CC tailored, or to expand it, or to close the doors and relaunch under a new banner. I also battled with the knowledge that I won’t have a steady photographer to take my outfit pictures (I’m looking for someone who would be willing to help out, so if you know anyone please let me know) because K. - boyfriend & photographer extraordinaire - is getting his legal education on and being a 1L is a full time job itself.

Given all these conundrums, what was a curvy girl to do?? CONQUER THAT ISH! The reality in all transparency is I’m still learning how to be a blogger. I’m learning how to be a fashionista and what my style actually is. I’m learning how to live in NYC, how to be in a relationship (you never stop learning this, imo), how to find balance, how to do a lot of things! Why shouldn’t I share that with you? SO. For 2012, Curvy Conquers is more than just fashion. Curvy Conquers is whatever needs a post. And for the record, Curvy isn’t just a body type ladies and gents, it’s a state of mind. We’re all unique, passionate beings so as far as I’m concerned we’re all a bit curvy.

Thanks for reading this far, seriously. If you’d like to know my resolutions, continue to Part II: 12 in 2012

No two ways about it: purple is a magical color. I’ve had a love affair with purple ever since I was a little girl and there was an actual Purple Store in the town I grew up in. You could get anything you wanted in the color purple, it was great! So needless to say, I’m all about exercising the pleasure principal of purple this fall. I have tons of purple in my wardrobe, so this time around I decided to mix it up with some purple accessories.

         

                       \cardi - thrifted via re/dress\  \black tank - h&m\

         

                                              \ jeggings - the gap\

Most people have a set pallet when they think of neutrals, but to me a neutral can be anything that creates a base for the rest of your outfit. In this case, the green and beige cardi is demure against the bright purple and gold accents, complimenting the shoes and accessories without overwhelming them. A basic black tank blends in with the sleeves.

       

The embellished shoulders draw enough attention that I feel no need for a necklace. Although they’re black and silver toned, I see nothing wrong with gold accessories. I really enjoy mixing metals in unexpected and fun ways! My lipgloss is limited edition mac in the color “All My Purple Life,” from their blogger collection. Fantastically, it was designed by my friend afrobella.

                                                 \earrings - shoedazzle\

        

                                                      \bracelet - borrowed\

Suede is pretty popular this season, but I think it’s timeless in a classic color like purple. The brass buckles make these a little fancy, but with this outfit they’re dressed down.

        

                                       \suede pumps - “Rhett” by shoedazzle\

What’s your favorite way to rock purple?

We all know color blocking is the coolest thing since the LBD, but sometimes color can be intimidating. Although I showed an example of complimentary color blocking in my post Conquering the Long & Short, style blogger Kitty Cotten breaks in down in a great video. Remember: the color wheel is your friend and save the reds & greens for Christmas!

                                 color wheel

via Kitty Cotten

This is one of my favorite looks so far this season, because it combines several things I love: bright colors, mixed textures, soft prints and wedge heels. This seems like an early fall ensemble because the sheer top is a little light for cold weather, but the cords are heavy enough to keep me cozy. And, once the temperatures drop, I’ll layer the top over a long sleeve basic tee in a complimentary color like light pink or beige to carry me through the winter. 

                    

                    

                               pretzel legs…it seemed like a good idea at the time!                                                                     \top - h&m\ \chords - gap\

I <3 a touch of whimsy…bring on lion earrings, snail bracelet, and an octopus ring!

                   

                   \lion earrings - ideeli\ \octopus ring - boutique in new orleans\

Want to layer in the winter but don’t want your long sleeves to show? Just push em up. I also favor adding a scarf-as-necklace to keep warm. I’m still learning how to style scarves, so I might be back with a scarf version later in the season.               

                     

                                  \snail bracelet - jewelry boutique in new orleans\

These are comfortable and easy to wear, very important for me when I’m running around the city! I love nice/expensive shoes as much as the next girl, but the fact that these only cost $40 makes me that much happier when I wear them—I don’t worry about messing them up! :)

        

                                            \wedges - “kiera” by shoedazzle\

Let’s Talk Skin: There are a few Golden Rules to being a successful model (of any size) and paramount amongst those is having clear skin. You’ll hear many models tout drinking lots of water, eating well and using the right products for their skin type and I wholeheartedly agree. I’d add seeing a dermatologist to the list (even if you don’t have problem skin…you see a general practitioner for a body physical, so why not make the effort to see a derm for a skin physical?)

Clear skin is the perfect canvas for gorgeous makeup…even for models who don’t really like to wear it like me. You might be surprised, but while I like how I look in makeup, I dislike both taking time to apply it and what it can do to my skin if I wear it too long! I try to keep my makeup usage to model-related activity, date nights, and special occasions. In a later post I’ll talk about how you can keep your makeup simple, but for now I have to tell you about my latest obsession: Nutrogena Extra Gentle Eye Makeup Remover Pads. Find them for around $7 at your local drug or grocery store, or buy online at the link.

Why I Love It: Makeup removers can be messy, oily and annoying to use. Often times you need to apply the liquid to cotton pads, which is one step too many for this lazy girl. These pads are fantastic because they’re not overly wet, meaning you won’t have liquid dripping down your face or into your eyes. They’re super gentle and soft, and just a few swipes takes off even the toughest mascara. Not only are they great for eyes, but you can take off the rest of your makeup in seconds flat.                                                                           

Model tip: this might be a no-brainer for some, but make sure you always use remover to take off all your makeup before washing. If you don’t have remover available, wash at least twice to really flush your pores, and exfoliate at least 2-3 times a week. My favorite exfoliator? Plain ole baking soda mixed with water. Make sure you’re not alergic or sensative to it, scrub very gently and rinse thoroughly.

*Please note: I was in no way compensated for this review, nor asked to endorse this product. The review is of my own volition, and is my genuine opinion after discovering this product myself!*

I’m a proud naturally curly girl, but I spend a lot of time with my hair straight for castings and shoots. Anyone with curly hair knows it has a mind of its own, so in my quest to conquer mine (or rather, getting it to cooperate cuz curls can’t be conquered!) I’ve decided to test out a few of the curly salons. Early this week, I had the chance to be a hair model for salon Ouidad.

                                        Ouidad

For those who have never heard of Ouidad, she pioneered both curly-hair only products and a proprietary cutting technique called Carve & Slice. Being a hair model means that stylists training to become Ouidad certified practice the Carve & Slice method on your hair. This apparently goes down a few times a year. I’m all for hair stylists when I’m getting a blow out or being styled on a shoot, but I have a hard time with people touching my curls. I think it stems from a fear that they’re messing it up/frizzing it out. So needless to say, I was a bit hesitant about the cut.

          

Hair pre Ouidad cut. It’s hard to see with my CrapBerry picture, but the texture is inconsistent and the ends are damaged from much straightening. I do love the length though. 

First Impressions: the salon is very nice, located in the low 50s on the west side. I was running late, so I called to let them know. Apparently this wasn’t an issue, but I was a bit surprised to get a voice mail 20 minutes later asking if I was going to show. When I arrived, there were several girls waiting and they had me fill out a waiver. They did not offer to take my coat or offer water like most hair places. Granted this was a training day, it was sweltering hot in the salon and I would have appreciated not having to stuff my coat in my bag and place it on the floor amongst the hair clippings. I was also a little concerned when the stylist came up to me practically squealed in my face “Oh yay! I was hoping someone with your hair texture would come in. I was looking for a challenge.” Could I trust someone who thought Afro-Am hair was “challenging”?

The Consult: Despite initial impressions, my stylist was nice enough and seemed to listen to what I wanted (keep the length but give it shape and tame the wildness). However, when one of Oudiad Staff Stylists (who were running the training) came by and asked if my stylist had showed me certain features of my hair, she lied and said she had when she hadn’t. Then they proceeded to tell my stylist what a “rock star” she was, which must have gone to her head a bit, because I was treated to a lot of ego-inflating banter about how great she’d done on the previous day’s clients as we made our way back to the shampoo chair. 

The Wash: Pretty standard. The Ouidad products were neither amazing nor disappointing, and they did leave my hair soft, which I liked. I’m quite the product junkie, but I’m not sure if they’re worth the $$. Still, I’m likely to give them a try. She was supposed to do a deep conditioning treatment, but for some reason she didn’t. She also didn’t wash out the shampoo thoroughly and I was left wiping suds out of my ear.

The Cut: My stylist spent forever trimming my hair. I did appreciate that she cut it curly (my first time having this done as most salons cut it straight, even Hair Rules, my other curly salon experience) but it was very hard for me to sit still while she fluffed and frizzed up my hair. Although the trim took forever, she did shape it very nicely. I thought we were all done, but then she pinned up my hair and called over an Ouidad Staff Stylist to ask how to Carve my hair. I was a little confused, both because she was supposed to be a “rock star” who knew her stuff, but also because I thought that’s what she had been doing the whole time. Apparently Carving and Slicing involves them going into the interior parts of your hair and cutting the curls to fit together better. She literally did 2 snips on each side of my hair and that was it.

Drying & Styling: My stylist started doing Ouidad’s patented Rake & Shake method of styling, during which she heaped on piles and piles of Ouidad gel, finger combed it through and then shook each section to form the curls. I was a bit disappointed, since my hair does not like gel, and because this is what I do with my hair when I style it. Plus, if you use enough product (especially gel), you can pretty much tame even the wildest curls. She then pinned up my roots and stuck me under the dyer, which she promptly dropped on my head. No apologies or acknowledgments there, and unlike the other girls in the salon, I was only under the dryer for about 10 minutes. She then seemed to rush through using a blow dryer (which she also dropped on my head, again no apologies), and I was left to air dry on my walk to the bus station.

I know it sounds like I had a kind of crappy experience, and I did. I was disappointed that the salon didn’t go more out of their way to make a better first impression. Since the cut was free, I’m not complaining too much, but normal cuts are $150-200 and I might be nervous about spending that much for a doubtful experience. BUT. BUT. I happen to LOVE my hair cut. At first I wasn’t sure, but today (second day) I washed and styled myself (using Hair Rules leave in, Organix Argan oil and a bit of Devachan’s AnGEL) and it came out GREAT.

          

          

After the cut. Healthier hair that is very shiny! Shorter, but I actually think it’s kinda sassy. Once again, excuse the CrapBerry photos…I’ll post better ones very soon. 

Final Thoughts: You get what you pay for. I’m pretty patient, so I forgave my stylist for being a bit rushed, and even for dropping two dryers on my head. Though I wish she & the salon staff had treated me the same as they would a paying client, because you only get to make one first impression, no? I would definitely give Ouidad another try, with a TRAINED stylist. I’ll be posting pics of my cut and style in my upcoming blog posts.

This fall brings lots of trends, but one of my favorites is shorts and tights. Tights in basic neutrals like blacks and grays are time tested staples, but it’s also a lot of fun to experiment with a brighter pallet. Here, I create a neutral background of black shorts and boots to really let my colors pop.

       

\top - victoria’s secret\ \shorts - city chic\ \tights - express\

Remember to keep makeup neutral so it doens’t conflict. One statement at a time!

      

\ball bearing - forever 21\ \bird earrings - gifted\

Although I’m mixing cool and warm tones, the intensity of the blue creates a similar feel as if it were on the warm end of the spectrum. For that reason, I chose black and silver accessories to compliment instead of compete with my clothes.

              

\bracelets - a boutique in chicago\

Black boots round out my neutral background, with more silver accents. These boots are my favorite pair (so far) and are one of my fall/winter wardrobe staples.

      

\boots - fergi via gilt\