Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Five Tips on How to Look Polished/Put Together (90% of the Time)

Recently, I got a formspring question from one of my readers:

How do you have the energy to get yourself ready and dressed everyday so nicely? I want to be that girl that always looks put together but then I get lazy or I think eh I'm not seeing anyone important today I'll look generic. Any tips?

I thought this question would be a good one to lead into a post about simple things you can do to make looking polished easy peasy (or doable, at least).

First things first--- I spend the time to get ready for the day because it makes me feel good. It's amazing what a little makeup, styled hair and a nice outfit can do for your self confidence. I believe you can be a better wife, friend, co-worker, employee, etc. when you feel your absolute best. Looks are just a small part of this, of course---but when you invest in yourself, my belief is that you can never lose.  Of course, confidence doesn't just come because of what's on the outside---but how you look on the outside can impact how you feel on the inside.

I like to look polished for my work week and on weekends, I tend to run all over town doing errands so I like to look put-together then, too.

Don't get me wrong---there are times where I leave the house sans-makeup (morning workouts, Starbucks runs, etc) or if I know I'll be cleaning the house all day or doing something else labor-intensive like painting---then, I don't even bother. But most of the time, I do make the effort because for me, it's worth it to feel good about myself.

Here are my tips on how to look put together/polished---and more importantly, how to create a routine that is doable for you and that you enjoy---it will motivate you want to spend time "getting ready."

Make your closet a functional space---seriously---you need to clean your closet like an episode of Hoarders.  That denim mini skirt you wore in college (you know which one I'm talking about!) donate it!  That too-short dress you'll never wear again---give it to your friend's younger sister.

(a work in progress)

Listen, I get it, we are all attached to our stuff---but believe it or not---getting rid of it will set you free! How can you possibly put outfits together when you have all this stuff all up in your space. Think of it as valuable real estate---does an item really deserve to take up space in your closet if you never wear it? Or if it reminds you that you'll never be that size again (ie: refer to the denim mini skirt from college).

Kendi from Kendi Everyday has a great closet purge post so I'll send you over there to read it (it's a several part series---a total must-read!)

After you've purged, organize your closet. I like to put similar items together and group them by color from light to dark---so all of my sleeveless tops go in a row---from white to black.  That way, when I pick the skirt I'm wearing I can immediately check out all the tops I have that may work with it and I also can find a specific color very easily.



I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of drawers. I don't think they allow you to see what you have. I put socks, workout clothes, bathing suits and underwear in my dresser, but everything else is hung or folded in my closet.  Allow yourself to really see the "big picture" of your wardrobe.


Look to blogs for inspiration---don't know what you like? Can't figure out what to wear? Don't know how to pair items together? Look no further than fashion bloggers. There are so many stylish gals out there who can lead you in the right direction. I keep an entire folder on my computer of outfits I love that other bloggers have worn. There are too many to name, but some of my favorites include The Chloe Conspiracy, The Blonde Salad, Anna Saccone, Running on Happiness, Kendi Everyday, 9 to 5 Chic, The Daybook, Saltwater Dreams, Saucy Glossie, Nicole's Guide to Style, Cupcakes and Cashmere, Mariannan, Atlantic-Pacific and A Co. Est. 1984 (and many many many more).

When I see a beautifully styled outfit on a blog---it inspires me to try a new trend, add to my closet or to try and create a similar look with pieces I own.  There is nothing shameful about trying to replicate a look someone else has styled---it's the biggest form of flattery!  I think a lot of bloggers give their readers the opportunity to test out looks they never thought they'd have the confidence to pull off.



Make it routine---How do I make the time to style my hair and do my makeup everyday?  Because I have a very simple and (believe it or not) quick routine.  I can be showered, have my hair styled, my makeup done and get dressed in an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.  On days I wash my hair (Mondays and Thursdays---read more about my hair washing routine here) I wake up at 6:47 (don't ask) and I'm out of the house by 8 or 8:10 a.m.  On days I don't wash my hair I wake up at 7:11 (again, don't ask, I have this "prime numbers" OCD) and I am out of the house by 8 or 8:10. 

(some good ol' second-day hair!)
I do my makeup the exact same way every day. Because of this, I have it all down to a very easy and non time consuming routine. I recommend that every woman experiment with different looks---then, decide which one you like best and is the most doable for day-to-day and do that look 90% of the time.  Some people may find that boring---I think it saves time and I love the idea of having a signature look.  It's kind of like Kate Middleton---sure, she may change out her eyeliner color and blush every once in awhile---but she knows what works for her and she looks classic and polished because she sticks with what works.  I like to experiment more with makeup looks for the evening---but for daytime---stick with a routine (watch my daily eye makeup routine and bronzer and blush application videos here.)

The same goes with my hair---I have a washing and styling routine.  On days I wash my hair, I blow it out and set it in Velcro rollers.  The next 2 days, I'll curl it. Then, I wash it again and it starts all over.  Establish a routine and set yourself free from figuring out how you want your makeup and hair to look.  This doesn't mean you can't ever stray from your routine---of course you can---but sticking to your routine 90% of the time will save you the frustration.

Don't put too much pressure on yourself---we all have days where we want to throw on black dress pants and a cardigan and that's 100% fine.  You don't have to look like you stepped out of a J.Crew catalog 5 days a week.  I too save my best outfits for days I know I have meetings or a special event.  Getting dressed is supposed to be a somewhat fun and creative process---putting pressure on yourself to be stylish 24/7 makes the process lose its fun.  On days where I'm feeling tired or don't have the desire to be creative, I go to my classic pieces that always make me feel good.  This includes items that don't need a lot of styling or accessories (like the striped Forever21 dress I wore recently or my black, full-skirted Club Monaco dress). 

Be aware of the pieces you have in your closet that always make you feel good and go to them when you aren't in the mood to layer and mix and match items.  I also tend to wear a lot of black when I'm not feeling particularly inspired.  Black is classic and when items fit well, you can't go wrong.

Think about how your efforts will make YOU feel---this goes back to my original point about confidence.  I know this sounds completely cheesy, but when I have a great hair day or I've spent the time to paint my nails or apply self tanner---the little things---I feel good about myself.  Don't think about how tedious these rituals seem or feel that you HAVE TO do them.  You'll never enjoy a makeup routine or hair styling regimen that you have to force yourself through everyday.  It's like doing a workout you hate because you think you have to. You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. You have to create a routine that works for your lifestyle and that makes you feel good.  If you feel like spending 15 minutes on your makeup is a waste of time---practice a routine you can do in five.  When I spend the time, it makes me feel good and in turn, I feel I have a better day because of it. Remind yourself how your efforts make you feel---after all, you'd never continue a hobby or participate in a workout class you felt gave you nothing back, right?

I hope this post was helpful and I would love to read your comments about your routines and how they make you feel!  Post below if you have additional tips on how to simplify the process of being "put together." 

xoxo,

Veronika.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

OOTD: Neon Azalea & Polka Dots!

OMG! It's an outfit of the day post!  These are rare these days, because, let's be honest, I've been re-wearing like five outfits over and over.

I finally got back into the excitement of daily dressing and was delighted to style my new J.Crew No. 2 Pencil Skirt (in the color "Neon Azalea")

I paired it with one of my Black Friday finds (haul video to be posted this weekend). It's a nude blouse with white polka dots from Express. I have to say, I've gone polka-dot crazy this season. Like completely sucked in by anything with polka dots. Love this trend!

 

Top- Express (buy it here)
Skirt- J.Crew (buy it here)
Belt- J.Crew (NLA)
Tights- Merona @ Target
Shoes- Kate Spade

xoxo,

Veronika.

PS- watching the VS fashion show as I click publish on this post! Who's watching with me!?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

How to Shop (For Less!)

When I get home from a shopping trip, I often quip to my husband "look how much money I saved!" while excitedly flapping my shopping bags in the air.

It's usually met with an eye roll, but the hubs does oftentimes congratulate me on my shopping prowess.  He even saves coupons for me when he sees them in the mail!  True love!

Obviously, I love to shop, that's a total given.  But what I love just as much is getting a great deal---in fact, it makes shopping even more fun for me.

Here are my best tips and tricks for saving while you shop:

Coupons are a gal's best friend.  If you're ever making a purchase in a store and they ask you to enter your email address and phone number into their system, do it!  Not only will they send you coupons, but the more you shop, the more they send. I constantly get "$10 off a bra" and "free panty" coupons from Victoria's Secret. I don't remember the last time I paid full price for a bra there. Express also has a ton of coupons like "Take $25 off a $75 purchase."  I keep all of my coupons in my purse at all times so that there's no excuse not to use them.



Check your inbox.  Visit your favorite retailer's websites and sign up for their e-newsletters.  Yes, you'll get a lot of emails, but it's worth it for the savings.  I delete 80% of the ones I get, but the other 20% often have printable coupons, updates about new items that have been added to the sale section and special promotions.  Remember that some coupons don't need to be printed out and can be shown at the register on your mobile device to get your discount---read the fine print to be sure. Another thing to look out for---a lot of stores seem to be following the trend of hosting "happy hour" sales.  Basically it's a post-work event where they offer a great discount until the store closes on either all or select merchandise.  Worth it if you've had your eye on something and don't have post-work plans.

It's all about timing.  I like to shop for deals on holiday weekends. Why? Because a lot of stores (including outlets) will have mega sales (like 40-50% off the entire store).  The crowds may be larger and the lines may be longer, but the savings can't be beat. A ton of stores have these kinds of sales on random weekends too (think Ann Taylor, LOFT, Banana Republic, Gilly Hicks, GAP etc). Keep up with your emails and you will know when these sales are taking place and can plan your shopping trips accordingly. I've noticed that if Banana Republic runs a sale one weekend offering 30% off the entire store, in the next couple of weeks they will offer 40% off so I usually wait for the 40% sale because I know it's coming.



Google for promo codes. I never (repeat, never) buy anything online before Googling "name of retailer + promo code." I often use the website retailmenot.com to find codes for anything I am buying online.  I have scored 20% off codes, free shipping codes, etc all just because I used Google prior to clicking the "process order" button.  Never ever buy anything online before first checking for promo codes. You never know how much you'll save.

Bookmark this site.  Many of you gals already know her---Chloe from the blog The Chloe Conspiracy also has a blog called "See Chloe Shop" where she lists the daily deals from all of the popular retailers. Bookmark or follow her blog now and check daily for retailers who are running promotions.  The best part? Not only does Chloe list the sales---she also provides links to her favorite items on the site---like getting advice from a professional stylist!  It's a must read!


It's all about friends and family (as in, sales).  Sephora has a "Friends & Family" sale once a year (usually October/November) which offers 20% off of everything in the store.  Sephora never has sales so this is the one time a year where you can really score. Saks Fifth Avenue and other higher-end retailers also hold these sales once yearly so it's worth it to keep these sales on your calendar to save, big time.  Ulta also runs a F&F sale around the same time Sephora does---but watch out because it doesn't include fragrance whereas Sephora's sale does. Do your research and check for exclusions so you know which retailer to order which products from.

Monitor for sales. Recently I learned of a website called salemarked.com.  How did I not know about this sooner? It's like the Priceline of online shopping and oh-so-simple to use.  While you're shopping online, you just click the Salemarked bookmarklet OR copy and paste the product URL into your Salemarked dashboard and then enter how much you'd pay for said product. Salemarked will track the price, and when it drops to or below your desired price, it will immediately email you. How amazing is that? 



Designer for less.  I am a member on designer discount sites like RueLaLa, MyHabit, OneKingsLane, Ideeli, GiltGroup, etc.  These sites offer designer goods at 50-90% off retail.  I have purchased a Cynthia Vincent dress that was selling on other sites for $350 for $75.  I have to admit that I don't often find things I want to purchase on these sites, but it's worthwhile to at least look at what's available because you may find something really incredible.

Wait it out.  If I find something cute at a pricier store like J. Crew, I'll often wait a couple of weeks for the item to go on sale or for them to run a promo codes (they'll often do a 25% off of a $150 purchase code).  The exception to this is if I feel something will sell out or if it's the last item available in my size.  Sometimes, good things are worth the wait!

Check Amazon.  Amazon has lower prices on a lot of items, especially books! I order 90% of my books on amazon because the prices can't be beat.  Amazon is also great for hard to find products (like my La Roche Posay skincare faves).

Do you have any other tips or shopping secrets? Post them in the comments below! Thank you for reading :)

xoxo,

Veronika.

PS---another tip I thought of after I posted this:  KEEP TAGS ON YOUR CLOTHES. I don't take the tag off until I wear something I purchased.  This makes it easier to return things (I also keep all of my receipts). Part of shopping smarter is acknowledging when you purchased something that you didn't really love or that doesn't work with the rest of your clothes.  Make sure to know the store's return policies so you can take back items that just didn't work for you. I have done it many times and don't feel any regret at all. I'd rather have items in my closet that get a lot of wear than items that sit there with tags on.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Shopping: Gifts for Men!

Alright, I'll admit it. I am the worst at picking out gifts for men.  The main reason is that my H never really wants things. He likes to get gadgets, like any dude (big flat screen TVs, iPad, etc) but as far as other things...he could go a year without buying new clothes and be perfectly happy (not that I'd allow that!)

I'm trying to fulfill a promise here that I'd post a men's gift guide so I asked my H's stylish friend Jeff if he would help me out and tell me what the cool gifts are these days.

Check out his picks below! I(I've also added some of my favorite stores for men at the bottom of this post!)













Chor Faux Leather Jacket with Knit Hood


 
Hope this post gives you some ideas!  Other stores I LOVE for men's shopping are:

  • Club Monaco
  • Express (for dress shirts)
  • Nordstrom- my H loves getting his TOMS there (they have great shirts and ties too!)
  • Lacoste
  • Apple (iPads, etc!)
  • J.Crew
  • The Nike Store
  • Lululemon (H loves their men's lounge pants!)
  • Diesel (H loves their denim)


xoxo,

Veronika.

Monday, November 21, 2011

OOTD: That Striped Dress

I never thought I'd say this (ever) but I wish it was cold. I mean not "snowstorm minus 30 with a windchill making it feel like minus 40 cold, but cold.)

I want to wear tights, boots, leg warmers, coats, hats and mittens.  I'm still going to the office bare-legged, only dreaming of the days I can break out my tights and layer more. The last two weekends were so warm I wore shorts out to do errands. Yes, shorts.

My outfit shots are really crappy today, but I wanted to share them anyway since I haven't been posting them a lot as of late and because I'm wearing the new dress that I got at Forever21 over the weekend (you can see it in my latest haul video)


Dress- Forever21
Belt- J. Crew
Pumps- Kate Spade
Necklace- Overstock.com



I also want to give a quick hair update.  I had it colored and cut the weekend before last and it was just a little to light for my liking so I went back in and had more low lights put in.  This was the first time I've ever gone for an adjustment with my current stylist so it was no biggie.

Here's what it looks like now
(it actually looks a lot lighter in this pic than IRL---
and it looks darker in my outfit photos than IRL)


A lot of people ask me to see a picture of the BACK of my hair---
this is the back, in horrible lighting that made it look a lot lighter than it was---
this was from before I had the low lights added
:



I promise it's my horrible bathroom lighting, it was not THAT blonde.
I just wanted to share this so you could see how my layers are cut.

Here it is how I usually have it colored:


A little bit darker. I think I just had some highlight overload at my last appointment and I like it much better now that there are more low lights. I'll try to take some updated photos of the color over the holidays so you can see a truer-to-life photo. I also plan to get rid of some of the highlights at the top of my hair the next time I go in.


And before I go...I just had to share this:



My snugglebugs.

xoxo,

Veronika.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Shopping: Sephora, J. Crew, Forever 21

Happy Sunday everyone!  I did a little shopping this week and wanted to share my purchases:


(Link to video)

I couldn't find a lot of the things I bought online, but here are the links to the ones I could find:



xoxo,

Veronika.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Wish List & Holiday Gift Ideas

OMG y'all, I think this post took me like an hour and a half to compile!  I had several requests to create a holiday wish list/shopping ideas post!  It was really fun to put this together.  These could be items to add to your own list or something you might purchase for a friend or family member.

Let's get started:








Lululemon Wunder Under Crop ($78---love them in the
herringbone but can't find it online)





Lululemon Cool Racerback Tank ($42.00----love this in heathered smoky rose)





Madewell Flowerlace Top ($98.00)




Madewell striped v-neck pocket tee ($28.00---love this in mulberry!)


J. Crew Blythe blouse in silk ($98.00---such gorgeous colors!)





J. Crew Heart me sweater ($88.00---love all three colors!)







TOMS Pink Pop Herringbone ($54.00)


Paintings by Jen Ramos at Made by Girl (dying for one of these!
photo from: alwaysswell.blogspot.com)





Victoria's Secret PINK Thermal PJ set ($49.50 I love leggings for sleeping!)






Gilly Hicks Violet Hill sleep pants ($34.50---I already have a pair and love them so much I want more! perfect for around the house and sleeping)





Gilly Hicks Patonga Tee (on sale for $17.15---love the wide stripes on this!)



Gilly Hicks Marine Parade Tank (on sale for $20.65---love this in dark gray and navy!)







SMASHBOX Snap You're Fab Lip Gloss Set ($30.00---great color variety and a lovely price!)




Sephora by OPI Glimmer Wonderland Eighteen Piece Mini Nail Colour Set ($48.00)









Stila Lip Glaze Set ($25---considering just one is about $22, this is a huge steal!)

 

 
West Elm Alphabet Mug (on sale for $4.00! spell out "LOVE"
 or give someone their monogram initals in mugs!)


Voluspa Candle ($16.00---one word- YUM!)


 


West Elm Monogram Shop (prices vary---I love the idea of having something
especially monogramed as a gift!)





Sonicare Toothbrush (prices vary depending on model---
y'all these are WAY worth it and make such a great gift---
brushing will never feel the same!)


Gift Card Ideas:- Favorite stores
- Favorite restaurants
- iTunes/books
-Spa services
-Movie theater


What's on YOUR holiday wish list?  Leave me a comment below!
xoxo,

Veronika.
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