Friday, February 28, 2014

INSPIRED: Natalie Lindsey, Fashion Designer

We're excited to kick off our new INSPIRED series with our fun and stylish friend, Natalie Lindsey, who is a San Francisco-based fashion designer and creator of Natalie Deayala Collection. Her great taste and effortless cool personal style is inspiring in itself. She style blogs, does calligraphy, and has an eye for interior decor. Lots of inspiration to be had. You'll want to follow her. That, combined with her talent for designing smart, flexible pieces that take her customer from day to night, season to season, inspires us. She is a designer to watch.

While searching for the perfect dress for her bridesmaids in 2013, Natalie Lindsey realized something was drastically missing. Stylish options. "I noticed that bridesmaids were wearing the same crinkle chiffon dresses in every wedding I saw, and [I] found them outdated and boring", says Natalie, who decided to start a collection of dresses in the midst of planning her own wedding. "I thought that there should be a line of dresses and gowns that you would actually buy for yourself but could also be used as bridesmaids dresses", the goal she had in mind when creating Natalie Deayala CollectionA picture of modern elegance, Natalie's fluid designs are timeless and chic. No fuss or frills. Her pieces are versatile and can be easily dressed up or down, depending on the accessories, and can be styled in fun ways to keep the look new. In other words, investment-worthy.

 In my Q and A session with Natalie below, she dishes on starting her own biz, what inspires her, and her secret to getting those gorgeous, loose mermaid waves (her hair isn't fair). But first!...  Some photos of Natalie showing off a few of her silk dresses in new spring colors - including orchid, Pantone's 2014 Color of the Year - and the sleek Double V Gown. In case you were wondering, the High Neck Gown (personal fave :-) is what she ended up selecting for her bridesmaids. Whether you're a bride in need of a shower or rehearsal dinner look, a bridesmaid, or you're just looking for a fun new summer dress, Natalie has you covered.

Hope y'all enjoyed meeting Natalie! You can follow her collection and style updates on Instagram @nataliedeayalacolletion

Photos taken by Ashley Batz
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Monday, February 24, 2014

How To Pull Off Purple Eyeliner

When it comes to your makeup, an easy and subtle way to experiment with color is with eyeliner. I love trying new shades of liquid eyeliner, and my favorite of the moment is Ligne Graphique de Chanel Liquid Eyeliner in Purple. I like pairing this liner with a neutral eye shadow, so that the plum shade stands out more. The color doesn't really pop next to darker shadows. The whole point of having a colored liquid liner is so that it will be noticed, so opt for a natural eye shadow. It's fine to pile up the mascara : ). I prefer a soft pink or nude lip and cheek color with this liner. Honestly, the less makeup you can get away with, the better. Colored eyeliner looks younger and fresher with minimal makeup.

As for the product itself, it has a nice, rich pigment and is easy to use. My preference is usually a felt tip brush when it comes to liquid eyeliners, but I do like this one. It's nice and narrow, so you can draw a pretty thin line with it. I tend wear my liner a bit thicker, however, as seen in these photos. This shade looks great on most skin tones. I especially love it with brown eyes and green eyes.

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Friday, February 21, 2014

My New Cropped 'Do + Tips On Going Shorter

It was a spontaneous decision. After several years of sporting long hair and not letting a hairstylist come anywhere near me with scissors, I decided on Wednesday I wanted a change. Yesterday, I had four inches of hair cut off, and I am so excited about my freshly cropped style! I had forgotten how good it feels to have short hair. I went in knowing exactly what I wanted - an angled look - shorter in the back with the longest pieces in front. No layers. It was a little scary/exciting to see big snips of my ombre tips falling to the ground as my hairstylist clipped away, but the final result was liberating. My hair feels so healthy now and has great bounce. It's also much easier to style. A couple of tips, when getting a new 'do... Show your hairstylist photos (lots!) of cuts that you like. If you're nervous about going shorter or aren't sure how much you want trimmed, ask your stylist to work slowly, in increments, until you are satisfied with your length. My stylist worked patiently with me on this. I originally asked for two and a half inches cut off in the back. Then, I found myself wanting more, so she clipped off another inch... and then another. And then it was perfect. 

Embracing a little change is fun. I'm so glad I went for it. : )
Hope y'all have a lovely weekend!

Haircut and color by Lita Peer, Richard Joseph Salon, Riverchase Galleria, Birmingham, AL
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rimmed Nail Art How-To

Red and nude make a hot color combo. Check out the first three looks of Helmut Lang's 2014 fall collection (here) and you'll see what we mean. Nude looks fresh with red and is a nice alternative to black. Here, Lindsey paired a classic red polish with a creamy beige to achieve a fun, easy rimmed nail look. First, start with a coat of red all over the nails. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Pirate was used here. Once dry, paint a matte nude polish onto the center of each nail, mimicking the nail shape. Carefully steer clear of the outer edges, leaving a thin strip of red visible all the way around. Lindsey used Chanel's Beige here. Make sure to avoid sheer polish formulas. Follow up with a quick slick of clear topcoat, and you're done!
Hope y'all are having a lovely Wednesday!
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Monday, February 17, 2014

Product Review: Kismet Opulent Body Bronzing Lotion

Hello, warmer weather! : ) Sunday was positively beautiful in Birmingham, so we took advantage of the sunny day by spending it outside. We were so excited to shed our winter coats and wear dresses (in February!). Our pale limbs haven't seen the sun in a while, so we jumped at the chance to try our new Kismet Opulent Body Bronzing Lotion. We're absolutely in love with this bronzer, which is an instant formula that deposits temporary color immediately and washes off in the shower. 

The first thing that stood out to us was the beachy scent. It has a subtle coconut lime fragrance that smells delish. Always exciting to find a self-tanner that smells good. : ) Another plus is that the formula is buildable. You can adjust the intensity of the color according to your preference. We think this is wonderful since Lindsey (right) prefers a natural hint of color, while I (left) love a deeper looking tan. Lindsey, who is naturally very fair skinned (ghost-white, she says), applied a sheer layer of Kismet all-over for a natural, subtle glow. I applied the product more generously to achieve a deeper effect.

The best part is how good it makes our legs look. It gives them the perfect sheen and makes them look more toned (love that!). The drugstore formulas we've tried in the past don't do this. Our friend who shot these photos agreed and wanted to know where she could buy some immediately.

Here is a close up of my arms after I applied the bronzer to one of them.

 We didn't have any issues with the bronzer smudging or coming off onto our clothes. Overall, we love it and are super excited about wearing it in warmer months! I will be wearing this every day my legs are showing. : )

Leave a comment and let us know what you think! You'll be seeing us wear this bronzer in posts to come : )

Have a lovely Monday! 

From left to right: Dresses by Patterson J. Kincaid and Free People | Heels by Kelsi Dagger

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Deep Purple Nails For All Skin Tones

Nothing against Valentine's Day, but pink+red mani's, mini hearts, and nails that read L-O-V-E are just not our cup of tea. Amidst an abundance of cutesy V-Day themed nails that seem to be posted everywhere, I thought I'd share three shades of purple polish we're wearing this month. Hopefully this post will offer a nice little visual break from all that and also show you some dark purple polish options for different skin tones.
I'll start with our favorite of the three, Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Charivari, which is part of Chanel's latest spring collection. We like a dark nail for transitioning into warmer months. This one is a matte, muted shade of purple with a touch of chocolate in it. It looks so glossy and pretty here on our friend Ashley. We like it on fair skin tones.
Chanel's Taboo polish is also a fun one. It's a deep royal shade of purple with a gorgeous shimmery magenta mixed in. It looks fab on warm skin tones, as seen here on our friend Lia, but it's a versatile shade that also looks beautiful on pale skin.
 And finally, the fun one for last. It's Velvet Burgundy by Nail Rock. It's a warm, plummy shade of purple that can be worn alone or dipped into a little pot of fuzzy looking powder for a velvet effect, which I did on my index finger nails. I quickly discovered that the velvet is pretty high-maintenance. If it gets wet, it looks smudgy. I don't see it lasting longer than one night.
Tell us what you think of these purples. Hope y'all have a lovely Valentine's Day!
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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Easy Winter Nail Art

Winter blues aren't a bad thing when it comes to nails. Snowy weather is the perfect opportunity to play with navy shades of polish. Midnight blue just feels right when it's freezing out. Here, Lindsey's are rimmed with a sliver of white, which really pops against the dark hue. To get this look, start with a full coat of white nail polish on your nails (avoid sheer formulas). Lindsey used Pure Ice Nail Polish in Super Star! Once the white polish is dry, carefully paint on a coat of navy, leaving a thin rim of white exposed along the sides and bottom of the nail. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Blue Satin was used here, which is a favorite of ours. Finish with a slick of quick drying polish, and you're done!

Stay warm!

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Beauty Trend: Electric Orange Lips

Tangerine has been a hot color in the beauty and fashion world ever since Pantone dubbed it Color of the Year in 2012, and we predict this fiery shade will continue to be relevant for spring and summer months of 2014. I think it's popularity has stuck because it's such a versatile, flattering color. In summer months, I wear tangerine on my nails and lips almost everyday. Over the past two years, I have gone through multiple bottles of tangerine polish (this rarely happens with one single color - I usually bore easily). Tangerine goes with everything. It looks good with both neons and pastels, and it feels punchy and fresh. It's a bold choice that doesn't look as heavy as red lips and nails, yet it's a bit more interesting than hot pinks. Plus, it's a smart compliment to Pantone's newest Color of the Year, orchid.

All this being said, you might want to consider incorporating a fiery orange lipstick into your makeup palette for spring and summer. I'm excited about a new drugstore shade I just picked up, Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipstick in Electric Orange. It reminds me a lot of Sephora's Tangerine Tango lipstick I blogged about in 2012, when the trend first started (see here). The Maybelline lipstick stays on pretty nicely and has good pigment. It's also less than $10. Thoughts?

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Product Review: Le Volume de Chanel Mascara

Happy Friday, everyone! Here's a quick review on a mascara we're using and loving right now, Chanel Le Volume Mascara. It has a great lash thickening formula which noticeably boosts volume, as you can see on Lindsey. It still defines and separates lashes quite nicely. We stick with black for the most part, but it also comes in fun shades like blue, purple, and bronze. Here's a quick application tip: to really amp up the volume, wiggle the mascara brush against the lashes using an upward motion. Do several coats of this if you want to achieve "false lash" results. Finish up by concentrating on the outer edges, flaring the lashes out for a flattering effect.

Have a lovely weekend, y'all!
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Reverse Matte Manicure How-To

Nail art need not be intimidating. Here's a quick, simple way to get in on the trend that anyone can do. All you need is a bottle of nail polish and a clear matte topcoat. Here, Lindsey started with two coats of Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Particuliere. We love this shade of gray. Once dry, paint the top portion of each nail with a coat of clear matte polish. For contrast, leave the bottom of the nail alone, so it remains shiny. We like Essie Matte About You finisher, which was used here. You could also try reversing it, leaving the tips alone and painting the bottom portion matte. See our Instagram shot of Lindsey's nails done this way here.

Now, how easy is that?
Happy Wednesday!

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Gladiator Heels Crush

Mary's heels: Schutz Brianna Lace Up Boot

 Well, we've made it through the first month of 2014. January seems to have flown by for us! Spring is right around the corner, and I'm looking forward to getting a lot more wear out of my Schutz gladiator booties, which I ordered from ShopBop this past fall. Thanks to the surprisingly warm weather over the weekend, I was able to wear these heels for the first time without pants covering up the top half of the boot. They make more of an impact when the entire shoe is visible. These are my favorite heels at the moment and are so much fun to wear. The lace up, structured cage heel makes a great choice for spring and is perfect for months transitioning into warmer weather. I've seen a lot of similar styles on runways, most recently at Christian Dior Couture (see here) as well as Gucci and Emilio Pucci Spring 2014 (see here and here). I like these heels paired with sweeter or looser-fitting silhouettes like this red lace Free People dress. A tight fitting or sexy looking dress would be overkill with these.

Here are a few close-up shots for you.

When I wore these heels with a dress over the weekend, a few friends asked me if they could also be worn with jeans. Yes. The top portion of the boot is nearly invisible underneath skinny jeans. A cool bonus with these heels is that they sort of look like a different shoe when worn with pants. Love that.

I thought I'd show some similar styles I found ranging from high to low price points. In addition to black, all of these are also available in camel or brown shades. Each pair has a back zipper like my Schutz pair. For those of you interested in a more affordable version, see Chinese Laundry's Jackpot boot here as well as Nine West's Kenie bootie here. There appear to be a limited number of sizes still available in the B Brian Atwood pair (here, here & here). See the Isabel Marant ones here.

Have a lovely Monday! Would love to know what y'all think.

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