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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!


Today’s FBFF strays a bit from the norm – instead of answering question prompts, bloggers are writing about their top blogging pet peeves. By no means do I wish to offend anybody with this list. I certainly don’t think my blog is better than anyone else’s – in fact, there are a few things that peeve me about my own blog, which will hopefully be alleviated when I buy my domain. Regardless, here are a few things that bug me when browsing blogs, along with recommendations:

Blogs cluttered with sidebar widgets/pictures/ads – I used to have a list of blogs I read on my sidebar, if you recall, but eventually it got the point where I was sharing so many that my sidebar was getting very long. I ended up removing the sharing widgets and creating a Blog Love page to share my growing list of bloggers to clean that up. I understand and respect that bloggers have many affiliations, but having outrageously long lists gets distracting and looks muddled. My recommendation: Create pages dedicated to those specific affiliation or sponsors. Giving them their own page will give them special status on your blog and they won’t get lost in the oodles of sidebar widgets.

Blogs that have typos – This may sound snobbish of me, but I was an English major in college and language is my love. I proofread all of my posts after I publish or schedule them and go back to fix any issues I may have. Granted, most of my posts are not exceedingly long, so it’s easy for me to do so. But when I’m reading through a post and see a bunch of typos, I wonder why the post didn’t get proofed. I think it’s just so natural for me to do that since I was an English major and now do a lot of editing in my work. My recommendation: Give your post a quick 2-minute glance after finishing it to make sure you’ve captured any typos or layout issues.

Blogs with an unclean layout – I don’t mean unclean as in sin and hellfire. I mean the blog layout just somehow doesn’t match the blog format. Usually I find this has to do with a mismatched color scheme. If the text color clashes with the background color, it’s going to make the entire layout look funny. I also occasionally see text that doesn’t wrap properly or a blog layout that covers text. My recommendation: Choose colors you like, of course, but focus on meshing them together well. Ask for second opinions once you find a color scheme you like. And try to hold off on posting blogs until drastic issues are resolved.

Blogs with too many pictures – I love pictures, I do. I don’t love sitting in front of my computer for five minutes waiting for your pictures to load. I especially don’t love sitting in front of my computer for five minutes waiting for your pictures to load when they’re basically the SAME PICTURE. My recommendation: I want to see your lovely photos, but if they’re similar, try to pare it down so that you’re only showing about five photos. If you’re showing photos that are not similar, incorporate a jump or a break to cut down on loading time.

Blog posts that have a jump – I know, I just recommended that you use a jump. If you’re going to have a lot of images in a post, it’s hard to avoid using a jump to help speed up loading time. The reason that I dislike jumps, however, is because I use Google Reader to subscribe to many blogs. Google Reader pulls in the blog into their format. I can’t see anything beyond the jump, which means that I have to go the extra step to click on the link to access your page if I want to read more. I’m lazy. If I’m on your blog and I have to go to a blog page directly to read the rest because of a jump, I then have to go back to read more on your blog, and remember, I’m lazy. My recommendation: I’m not the only lazy reader out there. Think about your readers in terms of blog accessibility, then go with your gut.

Blogs where I can’t scroll down and access more posts easily – If I’m reading your blog, chances are I want to read more than one post you’ve written. While I highly appreciate that bloggers think about loading times and try to alleviate those, it frustrates me when I can only read one post per page. I don’t want to click through a dozen pages to find the one post of yours I wanted to share from last week. My recommendation: If you’re going to alleviate loading time by showing only one page at a time, find sidebar widgets that help me navigate to older posts and categories. I would recommend having those regardless – they’re my favorite widgets.

Blogs that make it difficult to comment, like, or share – I like your blog post! I want to leave a comment to say so or to share my opinion as well! I want to like your blog! I want to share it with others! Oh, wait. I can’t. Blogs that make it difficult to leave comments or share them with other readers lose readership, period. My recommendation: Review your widgets and commenting abilities to make sure that they’re reader-friendly.

And one of my own pet peeves to prove I’m not a total blog snob…

WordPress saving and reloading issues – Anyone else have this problem? It doesn’t happen too often, but I’ll be working on a blog and suddenly, my browser will freeze. By the time I get back to the page, it’s disappeared. Thankfully WordPress automatically saves, so I don’t always lose my text, but I do often lose my saved publication specifications, categories, and tags. Since almost always I write my posts in advance and schedule them, this means that I accidentally post TV Tuesday posts on the previous Friday as uncategorized (which, you may have noticed, I never do) and no tags (again, never happens). Like I said, doesn’t happen often, but it’s quite the peeve when it does.

Check out other bloggers’ pet peeves here!

What do you see when reading blogs that irritates you?

Recently, Friend Friday asked us to write about our blogging influences. Today’s Friend Friday questions are all about outside influences.

1. What magazines do you subscribe to? I actually don’t subscribe to any magazines. For one, they’re expensive and I don’t think they’re worth it. More importantly, though, almost all women’s magazines are chock full of crap that make women feel bad about themselves. Ironically, many claim that they’re good for women. For example, I used to subscribe to Marie Claire, who claim that they support women and occasionally run features on survivors. Then I realized that 95% of the magazine talks about how to make yourself more attractive. 0% talks about loving yourself.

2. Do you watch any fashion TV shows? I don’t really, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. They’re just not my favorite type of show, and since I have so many other shows that I want to watch, they get pushed to the back-back burner. I do like Project Runway and I’m interested in America’s Next Top Model. That’s about it.

3. Beyond blogs, what websites do you frequent for fashion inspiration? To be honest, I don’t seek out sites for fashion inspiration, but I will check out various retailers such as ModCloth if I’m looking for ideas or want to see some cute clothes. Kate recently invited me to Pinterest as well, so I’m anticipating that I’ll find a lot of inspirational ideas on there as well. Here’s my profile!

4. Advertisements play a huge role in forming public opinion about a product or brand… what ads do you like and why? I have to admit, my favorite commercials are the ones with Betty White in them. Seriously. I love her. She’s like my old lady idol. Beyond that, I don’t pay as much attention to ads as I do to marketing and advertising agencies and what they put out. For example, Jack Morton is my favorite agency because they create campaigns solely on user marketing strategies. Very interesting stuff comes out of there!

5. Do you own any fashion books? I don’t have any clothing fashion books, but it’s not because I’m not interested in them. It’s because I would buy the book and then it would go out of style in six months. Seems pointless to me. I do have a book on hairstyles because I suck at styling my hair (even more reason to love my new, simple haircut). I used to own the Bobby Brown Beauty Guide, mainly for makeup, but now I just use Mary Kay Makeup Artist palettes.

Check out responses from the other fabulous FBFF bloggers here!

Today is a great day, readers, because today’s FBFF is on SHOES! As I’m sure you can tell from previous posts, I adore shoes. My boyfriend thinks I have a problem, but only because he doesn’t understand the innate (read: societal) need to own and wear many pairs of beautiful shoes. But for me, part of the reason that I love shoes so much is because I struggle to find clothes that look good on me, but I can almost always find an adorable-looking pair of shoes. Anyway, enough about that. On to the questions!

1.What is your go-to pair of shoes? My go-to pair is actually the only pair of shoes that my boyfriend has ever purchased for me, a pair of cute and simple black ballet flats from Target. They’re comfortable, but they’re also stylish and go with almost anything. In fact, I may be wearing them today. They also have some sentimental value, because as I said, they’re the only pair that my boyfriend has ever purchased for me. He adamantly refused to ever buy me shoes since apparently I have an “addiction” (not true, since I don’t let myself actually buy the shoes I ogle on a regular basis). When I said that my only pair of black flats, which I ADORED and wore all the time, were falling apart, he looked and agreed. I was very excited when I found out he got me shoes for my birthday! Best gift. 🙂

He even snapped a great picture of them during an outfit post shoot!

2. What goes into your shoe buying decisions?  Sadly, money, money, money. I rarely will spend more than $50 on a pair of shoes, and usually it’s more about $20. I’m big into clearance shopping for that reason. A trap I fell into, though, was buying cute shoes that were heavily discounted when they weren’t very comfortable. I’m learning to break that habit now. I’m hoping to make some more money soon and be able to truly splurge on a few pairs.

3. The majority of the shoes in your closet are what color? They are most definitely black. I have black flats, black boots, black pumps, black strappy heels, black shoes galore. I wear a lot of black, so that’s a big reason. I’m looking forward to getting more color into my shoe diet in the future!

4. When it comes to designer shoes what are your favorite brands and why?  Up to recently, I would have said Manolo Blahnik without hesitation, then followed up with Jimmy Choo. When I was doing a little digging for this Truth Thursday post on shoes, however, I realized that I don’t adore their brands as much as I truly adore Christian Louboutin. Despite the fact that his website is increasingly weird and slightly creepy, his shoes are amazing and much better fit my style. Someday I will own a pair. And yes, I will likely buy them on clearance.

5. If price wasn’t an issue, you’d own which shoe?  If price weren’t an issue, I’d own multiple pairs of shoes!

Like this fantastic pair of nude pumps from Christian Louboutin.

I’ve also been gunning for a pair of brown boots for quite some time, so I’d definitely expand my search on those. And as I mentioned, I really want to add color to my shoe closet, so I’d add a great pair of blue heels:

Like this.

And I love gray shoes, so I’d probably add some kind of gray heel. I’ve also really enjoyed some of the strappy flats I’ve seen recently. And I would definitely consider picking up a colorful print, like perhaps a floral? Many options!

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers and their 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!

It’s Friday, I’m taking a half day today, and my boyfriend came up early for the weekend, so I’m in a very good mood! Today’s Friend Friday questions are all about inspiration:

1. Which celebrity (celebrities) do you look to for fashion inspiration? Kristen Stewart. Ha! Just kidding. 🙂 I honestly don’t follow celebrity fashion – if anything, I covet their hairstyles more than their fashion. I really enjoyed Kate’s post honoring Zooey Deschanel’s fashion, mainly because I had never realized how awesome her style is. I also love Maggie Gyllenhaal (for many other reasons as well) and Reese Witherspoon. I tend to admire classic looks because I feel like I can pull those off better than the adorable styles that I love like Zooey’s.

2. When it comes to your own personal style, what inspires you? Quite honestly, the fashion bloggers out there, especially Sally of Already Pretty, Olivia of An Olive A Day, and Angeline of The New Professional. I’ve never felt stylish and still don’t feel like I’m getting very far in my style journey, but the beautiful (and covetous) looks that I see online inspire me to keep trying to incorporate fashion into my life more. Today I paired a blazer with jeans (outfit post coming later!), so hopefully that’s a solid start.

3. How do you hope to inspire your readers? I didn’t actually start my blog with the overall goal of inspiring readers – I just wanted a creative outlet where I could share my thoughts. That being said, if my blog inspires readers, I would be ecstatic! I would love if my thoughts influenced or helped another person in any aspect, whether it be something as little as giving them a favorite new recipe to helping them realize a deep truth.

4. Outside the realm of fashion who/what inspires you? So, so, so much in the world inspires me. My idol is Eve Ensler, who has spent years highlighting women around the world and working to better their lives. I co-directed her play “The Vagina Monologues” in college and have been a huge follower of hers ever since. I’m inspired by people who devote their lives to bettering the lives of others. My family and friends inspire me all of the time, whether or not they realize it. I’m inspired every day by small acts of kindness. Anything that makes the world a better place, even minutely, is worth paying attention to and celebrating.

5. And since Idol is ending… Which songs inspire you? There are sooo many songs that inspire me and they fluctuate depending on my mood. Right now, I would say songs that come to mind are India.Arie’s “Video”, Ani DiFranco’s “My IQ”, and Nikka Costa’s “Like A Feather”.

Check out the other FBFF responses here!

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 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!

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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