Treat Yourself and Save... with Shu Uemura

As Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals finally come to a close, I have a last minute one for you.  This one could be for you or a friend, but either way it is one to take advantage of asap.

As we get busy with the holidays, we don't spend much time on the beauty aspect of our ensembles (or, at least I don't).  I am always worried about what I will wear to an event, and then I run out of time when it comes to trying new makeup or replacing brushes, etc.  Which is why it is so important to take a minute to think about your eye shadow, lipstick, blush and even mascara.  This might be the perfect time to update with a new color or a little shimmer.  You might not even need a new dress - a change in your beauty products might be all that you need to shake things up this season.

You may have already guessed... I have the perfect brand for you to try this season.  Shu Uemura Cosmetics.  Shu Uemura was a Japanese makeup artist who gained worldwide fame after transforming Shirley MacLaine into a Japanese woman in 1962 film, My Geisha.  Eventually he started a makeup boutique in Japan and really became an international player in the eighties.

“Creating something that is universally beautiful. That is art.”
-Mr. Shu Uemura

I love that his philosophy was that the health of the customer's skin was the most important aspect of cosmetics.  He also promoted enhancing natural beauty as opposed to creating a false face with his cosmetics products.  If there is one brand to try this season, this just might be the one...

You must first start with a beautiful face.  Uemura's first product was his cleansing oil.  Not only does it leave your skin cleaner than soap, it moisturizes too.

High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil - Advanced Formula

Tis the season for red lips...

Rouge Unlimited Supreme Shine

A brown shimmery eye shadow, might be just what the doctor ordered...

Pressed Eye Shadow - Pearl Golden Brown

Or, maybe a curl of the lashes is all you need.

The Famous Shu Uemura Eye Lash Curler
Even more exciting, Karl Lagerfeld has recently collaborated with Shu Uemura on a Holiday Collection.  He has said that "the entire collection is a touching homage to Shu Uemura with color selection and package design entirely directed by Karl Lagerfeld."  Lagerfeld even photographed the visual campaign, and sketched the mon shu girl himself.  A very special collection indeed.  

“I design with Shu Uemura make-up because other manufacturers do not offer such beautiful colors.”
-Karl Lagerfeld

 A little taste of the Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura products available now...

Now, for the great news - use promotion code WISH2012 for 20% off your entire purchase.  And, there is free shipping on any order over $50.  Do not delay.  This offer expires on Tuesday, November 27th.

For a complete product selection, check out the Shu Uemura website.

Happy Shopping!!

                                                                                                                         - Allison


All You Really Need is... Plaid

Isn't it funny how life changes... I am not getting all philosophical on you, I promise.  Just musing...

As a result of my big closet purge, I did a lot of reflecting on my wardrobe and life.  First, I realized that as much as I live and breathe fashion, the reality is that I spend the vast majority of my time rotating between a very limited amount of exercise clothing (I am dead serious!).  While I would prefer to look my best everyday, it just doesn't work that way right now.  Some days are glamourous and exciting, and the rest... I  am just a glorified housekeeper and taxi service.  Welcome to mommyhood!

Anywho, this led me to start thinking about how, as women, each phase of our lives has a direct impact on our closets. Think about it... there is your first foray into the working world.  It's all about ditching your pj pants and looking professional.  Then there is becoming a mommy.  If this happens to be your life path, you will learn that you don't want to wear anything nice for a long while.  Next up - stay at home mommy, working mommy or possibly changing your job and work environment.  This calls for the need to clean out, pare down and rebuild the basics - the basics needed depend on your stage in life.    Then the kids get older, your career progresses and you turn 40.  Now, it is time to reassess again - are you too trendy?  Eventually the kids go to college, you might start working part-time, or possibly even retire... this will call for a whole new look.  Are you prepared??

I am not writing this to cause an anxiety attack, but really just to help you set your sights on the end game.  I have realized that I don't really "need" that much right now (except for a several different pairs of exercise pants), but that doesn't mean we can't update our wardrobe each season.  We just have to stay focused...

So, moving on, a trend that I looove right now (perfect for any age) is the plaid shirt.  It can be dressed down (jeans and flats) or dressed up (with a pencil skirt).  It is perfect for everyday or a night out... it has a loads of versatility.  So, buy one and instantly create many new looks - perfect!

Plaid can be worn with jeans, leather or even animal print.  Just remember to get the right fit.  Oversize is great for casual days and skinny pants, but for nights out and dressier occasions, a fitted shirt is best.  I am a sucker for any plaid with navy (it is my signature color)... favoring bright plaids with animal prints, while darker versions seem to work better with black and leather.

A few examples of what I am trying to describe...

This is a great shot of the Man Repeller, Leandra Medine, for Barney's...  I need this look.

 On another note, I just bought this buffalo check shirt from who else... J.Crew.  

I felt like it was screaming to be worn with winter white.  This tuxedo skirt might just be the one...

On the other hand, a bright plaid looks fab with a leopard print.

I prefer a clutch, belt or bracelet...

Clare Vivier's Oversized Clutch... love!
J. Crew Calf Hair Wide Belt
J. Crew Wild Side Wide Bangle

And then on those casual days, plaid works well with skinnies and flats or a skirt and boots.  So many options... Enjoy!

                                                                                                                               - Allison

*Photos courtesy of jcrew.com, rugby.com, shoplesnouvelles.com, google.com, barneys.com.


Cleaning Out for a Cause

A personal goal of mine has been to post as consistently as I possibly can while trying to juggle the duties of my day job.  I haven't done a great job at that, but I will work on it... scout's honor.  

During the past two weeks though, I haven't really had the heart and/or ability to consistently post due to a little storm named Sandy.  Unfortunately this storm hit too close to home.   The last two weeks have been put on hold, while we prepared, endured and attempted to recover from the "Frankenstorm".  

In my neck of the woods (northern NJ), we got hit pretty hard.  We don't live along the shore, but still experienced very strong winds that have led to no power, limited gas and groceries, no school and a vast amount of tree damage.  This insanity has led us all to resort to survival mode... keeping generators running, traveling from grocery to grocery to find milk and produce, finding enough firewood to heat your home, etc.  What I was wearing was obviously not much of a priority.  Especially since I needed a candle to dig my way through my closet.  So, I have spent most of my time in wellies, leggings and sweaters, which is all you really need in colder, wet weather.  My friends and I even started to liken ourselves to the characters on Revolution... I am telling you, things have been crazy.  (And it sounds much more believable over a glass of wine!)

Most importantly, we are resilient.  We laughed, cried and drank our way through the last two weeks, and now things are slowly getting back to normal.  While we have struggled through this experience, we do realize that we all are all still very lucky - we did not lose our homes.

A private group on Facebook of over 1,000 moms was my inspiration today.  This group kept my spirits up during the storm, was my source of information the days after and has made me realize how lucky we truly are.  Now, they are doing what they can to help those have not been as fortunate.

Rather than writing about what to wear today, I would like everyone to go into their closets and pull out several items that you will never miss... sweaters you haven't touched in ages, the jeans that are never going to fit again or that coat that is pushed so far back in your closet, you forgot you owned it.  Do this in your husband/boyfriend's closet as well as your kids' closets too.  Pack up these items and donate them to the Hurricane Sandy victims.  

Locally (Wyckoff area), clothing donations can be dropped off at Coldwell Banker at 372 Franklin Ave in Wyckoff (parking in the rear).  For those living somewhat near the areas affected most by Sandy, check out your area on Patch.com.  This lists organizations that are collecting donations locally.  For those further away, you can send the clothing to one of these organizations or drop off at your nearest Salvation Army.  

Clothing is not the only thing needed - tools, cleaning supplies, blankets, toiletries, etc.  These can also be donated or simply a monetary donation is appreciated - Salvation Army Hurricane Sandy Relief.  Take a minute to appreciate how lucky you are, and then spend a few more to help those in need.  

                                                                                                                            - Allison

*Photos courtesy of google.com.


Chic & Ornery

It's Friday - grey, cool, with the "Perfect Storm" heading our way.  Due to this, I'm feeling a bit feisty today... beware.

If I could pick out the perfect look to fit my mood, this would be it.  First, a pair of coated denim skinny jeans.  A must have this season, and totally worth the investment.  I have been eyeing the J Brand Coated Stretch Jeans - however, I am hoping to buy them a wee bit bigger to avoid the legging look.  I'll let you know how that goes...

I would add the Free People "City is a Jungle" Cardigan (I love this one!).  

For layering I would add a bohemian touch...

FP One Poison Pintuck Slip
And finish it with fabulous pair of very wearable booties.

Belle by Sigerson Morrison 'Charis' Boot

For a quick change later this evening, I would add a sequin tank and peep toe booties.  Done and done.

Now I need to hit the mall...

                                                                                                                              - Allison

*Photos courtesy of nordstrom.com and freepeople.com.


Bringing Sexy Back

Wax coated denim aside, the big push this Fall seems to be on day dresses.  Coming from someone who would take a dress over jeans any day, I am pretty darn happy about this news.  (I still feel like I am speaking with a twang after last night's episode of Nashville, y'all!)  To dig down even further into this trend, colorblock dresses are hugely popular right now.  And, not just any colorblocked dress, this colorblock gives the illusion of a svelte hourglass figure.  Interested?

Thanks to Stella McCartney and her optical illusion dress, we now have all sorts of variations of this truly inventive style.  For those of you not quite sure what I am referring to, let's quickly recap the evolution...

It all began with Stella McCartney's Fall 2011 collection...

Then, Kate Winslet famously donned this amah-zing dress for the Venice Film Festival last year.

After this red carpet moment, this dress (in many versions) started to appear everywhere.  To cut this story short, this Fall the rest of the fashion world is jumping on the optical illusion band wagon, and with good reason too.  This style of dress does wonders for the figure.  It's amazing how perfectly placed darker side panel nips you in just the right way to create that va-va-voom figure that we all desire.  

The best part - you can find a variation on this theme just about anywhere.  Here is a sample...

Victoria's Secret Colorblock Racerback Dress

INC's Colorblock Sheath

BCBG Max Azaria Colorblock Sheath Dress

And, I saved the best for last.  A twist on the optical illusion...

Milly's Bex Colorblock Dress

Finish your look with a pair of booties or pointy toe heels and an oversized clutch.  Done and done.

                                                                                                                          - Allison

*Photos courtesy of nymag.com, glamourmagazine.com, victoriassecret.com, macys.com and shopbop.com.


The Rules for Fall

For most of us, Fall has arrived.  We have put away our flip flops and dusted off our flats and wondered... what to wear now?  Well, to be quite honest, pretty much the same thing your wore last Fall.  The trends just don't change the way they used to, but I won't complain about that... it's much easier on our wallets.

However, it's always fun to infuse a few new pieces each season, and it helps to keep your look current.  I have lots of fun Fall ideas for you, but I wanted to kick off the new season with some tips from Harper's Bazaar Fashion & Beauty Editor, Avril Graham.

Avril recently visited the Paramus Neiman Marcus for a light lunch and fashion show.  Referring to herself as a transplanted Brit, Avril not only wowed us with some killer looks, but also captivated the ladies with a few tales about recent trips to Great Britain to commentate on the royal wedding, the olympics and meeting the queen.  She definitely needs to write a book one day... her stories could entertain you for hours!

But, more importantly, we we are here to discuss the fashion.  Avril styled many looks that afternoon.  The majority designed for the lady heading to the office, charity meetings, various luncheons, etc.  As fabulous as they were, the real gems of the day were the tips that she threw in here and there while describing the various ensembles.

Let's get on with it, shall we?

1. The Cardinal Rule - Always make sure to update your hairstyle, lipstick and shoes.  You can wear the same black dress for years, but if your lip color is passé, you will look dated.  The same holds true with your shoes.  The changes do not have to be drastic.  For example, if you like to wear red lipstick (that's me!), the trend this season is not as much of an orange/red, but more of an oxblood, deeper blue/red color.  An easy, inexpensive way to keep your look on trend this Fall.

Red lips are classic, but the shade varies from season to season.
2.  Pointy Toes - Alright ladies, if you didn't believe me when I wrote about Perfectly Pointed Toe, now you must listen to Avril.  She reported that the return of the point was a key trend this season.  It was the most prevalent style in the front row at Fashion Week last month.  I don't know what could be more convincing...

Couldn't resist a little J.Crew...

3.  Do Not Match Shoes & Handbags - Avril stressed this point look after look.  Your outfit is much more modern looking when the handbag and shoes do not match.  And, never ever wear red shoes with a red handbag.

4.  Leather - If you haven't noticed yet, take a peek around... leather is everywhere this Fall.  Dresses, pants, vests, jackets... the best part, is it isn't all real.  There are fantastic vegan versions as well as waxed "leather" looking denim.  It just takes a bit of shopping around.
P.S.  Zara has some great less expensive leather pieces.

Keeping leather leggings refined with a tweed jacket.

4.  Blush Tones - Add a little pop to your closet with a blush tone piece of clothing.  It is a fresh looking neutral that will go with most of your closet (and most skin tones!)... black, brown or a midnight/navy blue.

A blush tone dress allows you to have fun with your shoes...

5.  Accessory Update - Brooches are back.  However, wearing them in unexpected places is much more current.  Instead of on your jacket lapel, what about on your dress beneath... just peeking out from under your jacket?  Handbags with a little bling are also big for daytime.  Dress up your look with a little daytime sparkle.

*Nordstrom offers a Brooch Style Guide this Fall.

6.  Mixing It Up - Not a new trend, but a continuing one, mixing various styles continues to rule the runway.  Toughen a lady chic look with a heavier shoe and bag, or soften a tailored outfit with some lace or ruffles.  This is the perfect way to infuse some personality into your everyday ensemble.

A sweet sweater dress with lace detailing is made edgier with a biker jacket and booties.

Fabulous advice.  Easy on the wallet.  Done and done.  

                                                                                                                         - Allison

*Photos courtesy of jcrew.com and nordstrom.com.


Targét on the Town

My love for the new Kirna Zabête for Target line is no secret.  After purchasing this shift from my local Targèt, I could hardly wait to wear it.  I christened the shift on a fun night out - dinner & drinks.  I got rave reviews, and dropped jaws when I shared the source of my fab dress.

The best part of the dress (aside from a great deal) is that it has enough going on that you don't have to worry about accessorizing.  I paired my dress with open-toe booties, a leather jacket, black clutch, a sleek pair of silver earrings and and an edgy cocktail ring.  Done and done.

I have been trying not to wear my new shift too much, but I can't help myself.  This dress has so many moods, it really just depends on the shoes...

And then you can change up the jackets...

Join me now for a fun game of dress up...

Here I am going to run errands... tall boots or flats.  I would add my denim trench, or the black faux fur vest that I have my eye on.

Now I am headed out for drinks... my punkish booties and a leather jacket.

Today I am a lady who lunches... pointy toe heels and a trench - perfect.

Who knew you could do so much with a $35 dress?  What a steal!

                                                                                                                                 - Allison