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Today’s FBFF is all about hair care! Since getting my hair cut, I’ve unfortunately had to spend a slight bit of more time and effort with it. It’s worth the effort, definitely, but I can’t just brush it and go anymore. Probably a good thing.

1. How often do you get your hair cut? Not very often, actually. It’s not that I don’t enjoy getting my hair cut – on the contrary, I love the feeling of a new haircut. It’s just that a haircut is pretty expensive for me and I have to budget carefully in order to make sure that I can afford it. Now that I have a new job – especially since it’s one that basically requires me to be the face of the company – I’ll likely go in more often to get it cut or trimmed up.

2. Do you go to the same stylist each time, try someone new, go to the cheap hair cutting chains or live it up in a salon? I always, always, always go to my stylist. You know how people say that it’s near impossible to find the right stylist? I found mine back in college thanks to my wonderful college roommate. Even though we have different types of hair, my stylist somehow always understands my hair and knows what will flatter me most. Occasionally she does a little hand-holding as well, like with my last trip there to chop off my hair.

RE-SULT!

3. Do you color your hair? How often? What’s your natural color?  I definitely color my hair. Unless I’m adding highlights, I dye it myself – something my stylist taught me, actually. My natural color is a dull light brownish color, so I like to liven it up with reds and browns, although I’ve done black (big mistake) and many blonde highlights (good if I use warm blondes) as well. My favorite and standby color is half copper red, half medium brown – it brings out a beautiful chestnut color on me. Speaking of, I should probably get on that.

4. The one thing you always do to keep your hair looking great is: I try not to damage it too much. While I do color it every few months, I always use a super deep conditioner afterwards to help it repair. I also use very little styling product in my hair, and when I do use product, I try to use decent products such as Sebastian. I use brand name shampoo and conditioner that treats my hair well. Unfortunately, I now have to blow-dry my hair every day after the shower, but I don’t dry it completely. Overall, though, I think my trick is that I understand what type of hair I have (fine, but twice as much as most people) and treat it accordingly.

5. What hair trend do you love and wish you could rock? I absolutely adore wavy curls. Think Kristin Wiig’s hair in Bridesmaids – perfect. I love, love, love the way my hair looks with curls, but it takes a sizable chunk of time to style and my hair is so stick-straight that the curls don’t hold well. Occasionally, I’ll take the plunge, but usually I won’t bother unless it’s for a special occasion. I haven’t tried curling my hair since I chopped it. Must do that.

Took an hour, lasted three.

Check out the other FBFF bloggers’ responses here!

This week’s Friend Friday is all about fitness! To be honest, in the past, I would have had very little to say about this as I hated working out. A year ago, however, I joined a gym and while I still don’t love working out, I like the feeling of finishing up a workout. Combined with my desire to improve my body image, this Friend Friday poses some great and apropos questions that I’m no longer afraid of:

1. Do you keep some kind of fitness routine? Why?  I do! I joined Snap Fitness a year ago and have really enjoyed going to the gym on a (somewhat) regular basis – although I haven’t gone much this year due to an overwhelmingly busy schedule and now illness, but I’ll get back soon. As mentioned above, I used to hate working out, but I really struggled with body image (still do) and wanted to want to work out. I would try during college to go work out at the school’s gym, but never maintained a schedule. It didn’t help that I didn’t know that lifting weights helps my body type exponentially more than cardio workouts do. Now, I go in a few times a week to lift weights and/or do interval training cardio exercises (trying to build up to going in almost every day, alternating intervals and weight lifting). Have I lost weight? No. But do I feel stronger and healthier? Absolutely. In fact, I think the reason I haven’t been sick in over a year – until now – was because I worked out regularly and take daily vitamin supplements.

2. Has working out, maybe training for a marathon or something of that nature, helped with your own perception of body image? In a way, it has. I feel better about myself when I work out knowing that I’m trying to do something to improve my body. I actually feel guilty when I have time to work out and don’t. At the same time, the fact that my body shape hasn’t changed at all is difficult to deal with. I have to remind myself that I changed birth control recently and that I’ve been overwhelmed with stress and depression much of this year, both of which can be attributed to weight gain. Other than ensuring that I pair proteins and carbs, I also don’t watch what I eat. Bottom line, I feel better about myself when I work out because I’m making an effort to be healthier. 

3. When you are hitting the gym or just going out for a long walk what do you wear? Is it about functionality or fashion? Haha it’s totally about functionality! I used to care about what I looked like at all times, including doing a light cover-up to go to the gym. To be fair, St. Olaf was filled with young women who had to look perfect at all times. Now I realize how ridiculous it is to look good when you go to the gym. That’s not what the gym is about. The gym is about putting your body through positive stress, and like it or not, that stress is not going to make you look good.

4. Do you feel there is a cultural perception of what you ‘should’ be doing for your own physical fitness? Oh, absolutely. There’s an overwhelming aversion/dislike/hatred of fat people. People who aren’t fat have this fierce belief that those people are just lazy pigs and that’s absolutely not true. Yes, obviously many people eat what they shouldn’t and don’t exercise as much as they should, but bodies have a set, natural, predestined shape. I could eat celery for the rest of my life and still wouldn’t be a size zero. I could diet forever and never weigh what a skinny person who eats nothing but ice cream and cheeseburgers weighs. It’s not at all fair and I struggle with that fairness every day. 

5.  Dream big… what would be your ultimate fitness goal. Honestly, it would be to lose weight and feel comfortable in my own skin. I still struggle with my body image on a daily issue, so I really wish that I felt more confident. I hate society and its demands, but I still subscribe to them – how can you not? If you know, please teach me.

Check out what other fantastic FBFF bloggers wrote here!


Do you ever wake up, stumble into your closet, and pick out the first thing that feels good enough for you? I do this almost every day. Because of this, and because I own a lot of black/blue/grey clothing, I end up wearing a lot of drab colors. One of my style goals this spring is to incorporate more colors into my wardrobe, so I’m giving myself (and anyone who wants to join me!) a challenge: Wear at least one brightly-colored item every day this week.

I’ll try to do an outfit post each day to document my splashes of color throughout the week. If you want to join me, let me know and I’ll link out to your blog so people can see your splashes of color as well. Who’s with me?

Today's splash of color - I apologize for the poor lighting!

What is a style goal of yours this spring?

I’ve done a couple of these posts (formerly labeled under Blog Banter, now FBFF), but I just officially applied for membership for this great group. Katy of Modly Chic set up a group for fashion bloggers exactly one year ago today and it has exploded. Katy always provides fantastic questions for us fellow bloggers to ponder and respond to on our own blogs. I may not post these every week, but I will do my best.

This week’s theme – gratitude. While I haven’t been blogging on here for very long (in my fourth month) and I don’t focus solely on fashion, I do want to express my gratitude (many of these questions surround blogging).

1.  When it comes to me personally – I owe a lot of who I am to: Without a doubt, my parents have been instrumental in helping me become who I am. I’m certainly not finished with this journey – in fact, I doubt that I will ever be finished discovering who I am – but my parents have definitely helped me pave a path. My grandmother was also an essential person who helped me grow into myself, perhaps more so than anybody. Nowadays, when I see myself do things or act in ways that remind me of her, I relish the fact that I’m becoming more like her.

2. When it comes to me professionally – I owe a lot of who I am to: Again, my parents. I’ve had 20 or so jobs in my lifetime (at one point, I was working four jobs and going to school full-time – I’m not flighty like that sounds) and they’ve always supported me through it. My parents forced me to become financially smart so that I could become financially independent, they supported my various (and multiple) career paths, and they made me push myself into doing what had to be done. We’ve talked about everything related to career, from the obvious to the minute details. I am definitely grateful for all of the advice and support they’ve given me over the years.

3. When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots: I haven’t blogged for very long, so I can’t speak much to rough patches yet. I can say that Kate at Divergent Musings is the reason that I started blogging again and the reason that I’ve continued blogging – in the past, I’ve started a blog and dropped it again in a few weeks. First, she encouraged me to keep up blogging and join WordPress’ PostAWeek2011 Challenge, then she inspired me with her own posts. Now I’m to the point where I schedule a post for every day about a week in advance. None of that would have happened without Kate.

4. One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was… definitely the WordPress challenge. I’ll admit, I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to do the PostADay challenge – after all, I wasn’t even sure I’d keep a blog going with my past record. The PostAWeek challenge was perfect because it allowed me to feel okay about not posting for a day or two, but forced me to post on a regular basis. Now I do post nearly every day and enjoy doing so.

5. To my readers, I’d like to say… thank you for reading! I started this blog as a journal of sorts – a way for me to say whatever was on my mind and explore a variety of subjects that I’m interested in. Because of its lack of focus, I figured that I wouldn’t have much of a readership. In the few months that I’ve been writing, however, I’ve found a few connections with various readers and other bloggers that I treasure. I love logging into my email and seeing that some awesome reader left me a comment! I especially love that I’ve been able to get some new ideas and perspectives thanks to the comments that readers have left on my blog. I’m very grateful for your readership and hope my blog continues to be of interest!

Check out the other bloggers’ responses here!

I know – I haven’t done an outfit post in forever. To be honest, I find them harder to do than my standard posts because I really struggle to find similar items (since mine are rarely new enough to be online or are thrifted). I actually created this outfit around wanting to wear a scarf. I have difficulty pairing scarves with outfits for some reason, so I’m trying to incorporate them into my wardrobe more. Here’s what I came up with.

I love you, pants!

White mock turtleneck, Old Navy
Gold scarf, Target? – similar
Brown pants, New York & Co. – similar
Brown heels, Target – similar
Bracelet, family jewelry

I haven’t worn these pants in a long time because of dreadful winter, but I knew they would match well with the rest of the outfit, so I decided to put them on this morning. I forgot how much I LOVE these pants! They are incredibly comfortable, they hug all the right curves, and they cut off at the perfect spot on the leg. There’s a couple of spots where my stomach sticks out a little, but overall, they’re a great pair of pants. Plus, I got to wear a scarf!

Kind of wish I'd had a better shirt.

Kitty!

Stupid camera wouldn't take a decent picture.


I know I promised I would write these makeover posts a while ago, but I honestly wasn’t sure what to write.  Today, however, it’s time to give it a shot. As you may recall, I’m interested in getting feedback and advice on dressing more fashionably. Today, I’d like to get some opinions (or even specific ideas) on how to make my casual outfits more stylish.

Here is the must-know information:

  • I’m a pear shape, so I try to focus attention up.
  • I have quite large hips.
  • I’m generally a size XL or 18.
  • I have a very low budget for adding new items, which is why I’ve been so slow to start on this.

I already know that I need to increase my collection of belts, tights, cardigans, and chunky jewelry. I also need to wear my heels more with casual outfits, which will be easier to do now that the weather is warming up.

Any thoughts on casual outfits that would make me look more fashionable? Any specific items you think I should get?

I haven’t been keeping on the FBFF weekly questions, but I’m all in this week. This week’s question:

What 5 Spring Trends will I be rocking this year?

Funny enough, I actually quite hate a lot of the styles that other people like right now – some because of the way the style looks on me (maxis look horrible on my frame) and some because I’m just not a fan (I can’t stand wedges). Here are the ones I’ve loving:

1. Floral prints – I’ve never been a fan of floral prints – in fact, I own maybe two things with flowers on them – but this year, I’ve really been enjoying some of the floral print tops that I’ve seen. Actually, I have an ideal image in my head of a top I want – if you can find it for me, I will be forever in your debt – it’s a black tank top with red trim and small red flowers.

I also love bold shoe colors.

2. Layered sleeveless cardigans – It’s funny, I didn’t think I would like this when it first started coming out, but I saw a mix one day that caught my interest and I haven’t stopped liking them since. I don’t own one yet, but I’m sure I could find a way to pair one with a cute t-shirt or something. Sadly, I hate my arms, so I probably wouldn’t be very comfortable wearing one over a tank top. The only question – crocheted back or no?

Adorable outfit.

3. Light-colored trouser shorts – This is my number one must-have this spring – I will find a pair of business shorts! I really want to mix a beige pair trouser shorts with a bright blouse and a cardigan or blazer. It’s definitely a work in progress. I’m not sure if I should shoot for linen or a different fabric though – I don’t usually like the way linen falls on me.

I adore every bit of this outfit, down to the flower in her hair.

4. Mixed neutrals – I’ve been loving neutrals all season. To be honest, I’ve always been a black and blue tones girl, but just recently, I’ve really started appreciating the creams, peaches, grays, and browns. I definitely need to incorporate more creams and peaches into my wardrobe for sure, so that’s one of the my next closet projects.

I may have stolen this picture from TartLemonDrop.blogspot.com

5. Blue eyeshadow pops – Remember when blue was considered the “whore eyeshadow?” Not anymore! I’ve experimented with blue eyeshadows a bit throughout my years of makeup play, but this season, I want to go bolder (like this Mary Kay look). Because I have green eyes, blue also makes my eye color pop. The biggest challenge for me is covering up my undereye circles so the blue doesn’t make them stand out.

I definitely want to try this look.

Remember to check out the other FBFF blogs and get more spring trends!


As someone who’s a plus-sized lady, I really struggle to find cute clothes that fit me. It’s almost as if designers think that I deserve to be punished for being heavier – even though that’s what my body wants. Today when I was going through my fashion blogs, however, I found one that linked to a multitude of fantastic online stores for plus-size women. I had to share them!

Simply Be – This awesome store offers sizes 10-28, which means they might actually carry something that fits me AND looks cute! They’re a little expensive for my taste, unfortunately, but they have a large range of items on sale and they have free shipping on all items – yes, really, all.

I adore this, but it’s way too expensive, even on sale:

Frock & Frill Bead Neck Top

City Chic – This one is for 14+ sizes and they’re having a sale right now of 60% off all items! Seriously. Everything. Plus free shipping. Plus free returns. Basically, I am in love with this website right now. They also adjust their sizes accordingly – for example, I’m a medium. Awesome.

I just ordered my first pair of skinny jeans:

Zip Me Skinny Night Jeans

ASOS – Unlike most stores that feature a plus-size line along with their standard regular sizes, their Curve line is flush with items! The biggest drawback? They’re in the UK. BUT! they have free shipping worldwide. Sadly, items are a bit expensive and I’m just not willing to pay that much for items – but I’m broke. 🙂

Their stuff was so pretty that I had to share two items. WANT:

Sixties Skater Dress with Belt

Exclusive Tailored Drapey Jacket

Ruche – This store doesn’t have nearly as wide of a plus-sized selection as I wish it would, but it does have some cute stuff. My other complaint about sizing is that their sizes are way off standard sizes – I’d be a 3X and believe me, I am not a 3X in any other style. The biggest challenge is that many of their items are sold out quickly. I do like some of their stuff, however, so I thought I would add it to the list.

NOT IN MY SIZE. But would look adorable under a blazer:

 

Something to Smile About One-Shoulder Tunic

Any great online stores you want to share?

I’ve decided to make this a bimonthly blog post – I want to keep up with this theme, but one week seemed too short for me to have anything new to say. The categories may change up a bit each time, but they’ll all be current happenings in my life. Without further ado, here are my currents at the moment:

What I’m watching:

Yeah, yeah, two repeats. I know. Bad blogger.

  • Criminal MindsI’m going through the entire series (I’m only on season 2) on Netflix, so this will be on here for a while. Every time I have a disc in the mail, I get excited knowing that I’ll get to watch an intriguing dramatic crime show that night!
  • Angel – Again, I know this was on the list last time, but it’s a slow-going process. I’m still in season 4, but I’m hoping to be able to devote more time to relaxing with a good show now that speech is calming down.
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – I’ve been meaning to watch this final movie for a while. They made these over in Sweden, so they’re in Swedish with English subtitles, but they’re not bad. Do they stack up to the quality of the book? No. Are there better than what USA could probably turn out? Yes. I don’t agree with some of the actors, but there is no doubt in my mind that Noomi Rapace is Lizbeth Salander. She is unbelievable. Totally makes the movies worth watching.

Tell me she's not Lizbeth. You can't. 'Cause she is.

  • Six Feet Under – My boyfriend has been telling me for months that this show is amazing and I have no reason to doubt him. I was planning to watch it before Criminal Minds, in fact, but he was visiting and we needed something to watch, so we ended up going with Criminal Minds instead since he had seen Six Feet Under – and once you start, you can’t stop.

Personal dilemmas I’m dealing with:

Also known as the downer section of this blog post.

  • Do I stay or do I go?– I’ll be honest, I was kind of relying on getting into grad school. I had plans to move to Santa Cruz in August with the boy and start a new life. Obviously, all that has changed. Now the question is, when do I move to California (it’s a when, not an if)? In the meantime, do I stay where I’m at? Do I move where the boy is while he finishes school, but give up what I know in the cities? Do I stay after my roommates’ leases are up in July? There are so many questions about this running through my head on repeat.

I belong here.

  • Am I as smart as I thought? – Throughout my entire life, I’ve prided myself on one consistent thing – my intelligence. I breezed through high school. I didn’t even have to work incredibly hard in college, all things considered. Suddenly, I’m not a top candidate for jobs, I didn’t get into grad school. I find myself being told over and over again that I’m not good enough, that I don’t stand out in the crowd. I spent a long time wondering what happened to the golden girl I was. Then I started wondering if maybe I’m not as amazing and intelligent as I thought I was. Definitely a hard pill to swallow.
  • How much stress is too much? – Those who know me know that I overbook myself. Not just occasionally – all of the time. I don’t realize that I’ve overbooking myself half of the time. I really want to be able to do everything, but I get unbelievably stressed when I’m in the middle of everything and I realize that I can’t do it all. I’m trying to learn how to find balance and calm in my life and perhaps fulfill that pesky New Years’ resolution about de-stressing.
  • How do I accomplish my dreams and goals? – …especially when I’m not even sure what those dreams and goals are. As I mentioned, I feel like my home is in California, but that’s not necessarily for life. I love parts of Minnesota and this, too, will always be a home for me. I don’t know what I want to do for a career – I would be good at and could see myself enjoy many things. I don’t know how to move forward. I want to create a dreamboard and see what I can do to help myself realize some of my dreams.

Blogs I’m loving:

Fashion blogs! My dear friend, Kate, has perused fashion blogs quite thoroughly, and although I’ve found some great posts on the ones she’s highlighted, I’m a plus-size girl and that fashion doesn’t always work for me. I did some research and found some fantastic plus-size fashion blogs! Here’s a mix:

  • Corazones Rojos – This woman looks damn good in fashionable bottoms. Colored tights, ripped or distressed pants, you name it, she can pull it off. I’m a pear-shape, so I don’t feel as comfortable in items that make my lower half stand out, but I just might try some colored tights thanks to her!
  • Young, Fat, and Fabulous – This woman has some fierce style choices! I wouldn’t choose to wear a lot of the stuff she wears, but she looks amazing in it. I also love her use of color, which I’m going to try to start incorporating more into my wardrobe.
  • Already Pretty – This woman – from my state! – makes AMAZING use of color. Seriously, she has such an adorable style. I want to steal her style, but I will settle for figuring out how to borrow it. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on her blog and pick up on some tips!

I am so in love with this outfit.

  • Blue Collar Catwalk – The woman has cute style AND knows how to do it on a budget. Definitely my kind of read! She’s also started a section called “Blue Collar Collective” where people submit their outfits that they’ve put together for under $100. As I start finally being able to add pieces to my wardrobe, I think I’m going to take part in that.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Sleeping in next Saturday – That’s right. After many weeks, I finally get to sleep in on a Saturday! Our regular speech season ends today with the Roseville tournament (sad panda). Sections and state competitions are still ahead, so we’re definitely not done working, but it’ll be a nice reprieve from the six-days-a-week, 13-hour days.
  • Zumba – Make fun of me if you want, but I got a Zumba DVD from the library and I really like it so far! For those of you who haven’t heard of this phenomena that’s recently exploded, it’s a Latin hip-hop dance exercise. I’ve only been able to do it once, so I’ve only learned the basics and put it together in a 20-minute workout, but I had a great time. I’d love to get a Zumba partner and check out some classes.
  • Closet shopping – Yes, you read that correctly. Inspired by my empty pocketbook and my fashion blogs, I’ve decided to put on some jams and completely refresh my closet! This Sunday, I’m going through it piece by piece and mixing new items (like today, actually – I’m wearing a short black cardigan that I never wear because I’ve been afraid it’ll show off my midriff instead of my chest – well, screw that!) I’ll take pictures and write up a post for Makeover Mayhem so you can see the progress (drama?) that occurs.
  • Spring – It’s been 50 degrees the past couple of days, which, combined with the sun in the sky later at night, makes me absolutely thrilled! I hate winter, so any signs that we’re finally leaving the pit of cold doom is exciting to me.

I can't wait!

What are some of your current happenings?

Thanks to the ever-fresh posts of Kate, I found a group blog post to contribute to (read Kate’s FBFF here and others here). This week, the questions are all about beauty products. As a Mary Kay rep. and long-time makeup fan, I know a thing or two about beauty products. 🙂

1. What’s your favorite drug store makeup product and your favorite higher-end product? I’ll be honest – I almost never buy drugstore makeup anymore. I used to shop there exclusively because it’s cheaper, but I’ve found some pretty fantastic higher-end makeup – plus if I get it through Mary Kay, I often get it at a discounted price! I do live by Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, though – it’s petrolatum-free. On the higher end of makeup, my favorite product is my Victoria’s Secret mascara. At $12.00 a tube, replaced every 3-6 months, I better damn well like it. I’ve tried other high-end mascaras, but nothing seems to accentuate my lashes as well.

2. Is there one type of product that is your go-to, can’t live without? Unless I foresee mass amounts of crying during the day, I always wear mascara. I also almost always wear some kind of cover-up, whether that be foundation (standard) or powder foundation (occasional).

3. What’s the best hair product you’ve ever used? I love testing out different shampoos/conditioners. My biggest challenge with hair products is that my hair soaks up every bit of moisture that it can get, so I use up fancy (read: expensive) shampoos/conditioners quickly. Right now, my scalp is quite dry, so I’ve become a huge fan of Giovanni’s Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo. Smells great, too! 

4. Fess up, what’s the worst beauty look you’ve tried to rock and look back at now with a little shame or apprehension that you actually did that? I’ve tried out a few different things that didn’t work out incredibly well, but I would say the worst I’ve done was when I dyed my hair black for a Halloween costume. I have fair, rosy skin and black does NOT go well with my skin tone. See?

I look like Edward Scissorhands. That was not my costume.

Although I used a semi-permanent dye, because I had already dyed my hair in the past, it wouldn’t come out.  I eventually had to go to a salon where the brilliant stylist stripped the black out of sections and dyed those sections dark brown to help me transition back to a better color. That actually looked lovely!

Yay for smart colorists!

5. When it comes to beauty products, we all use the same basic products. What do you use that helps show off your personal flare and personality? If I’m getting dressed up to go out, I like to style up my eyes. My eyes are one of my best features, so I like to make those really stand out – hence the importance of mascara. 🙂

What are your must-have beauty products?

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