Build a beautiful reverse side braid

Reverse side braid
Reverse side braid

Braids are a great way to pull hair away from your face while adding a touch more sophistication than a plain ponytail. This year, braids have been everywhere, ranging from a quick French braid to the more complex hair artistry worn to black-tie affairs.

At the glamorous Met Gala earlier this year, celebrities wore a variety of braids, including Emma Stone with a messy side braid, Gabrielle Union’s crown braid and Joan Smalls wearing a sleek fishtail braid.

I wanted to share a style that I love for getting long hair out of the way and looking cute with just minutes of preparation.

My favorite quick hairstyle of the moment is the reverse side braid. This look is soft, with gentle flyaways helping to make the look rather than detracting from it. This is one you can easily do on your own hair, finishing the look with a simple elastic band or loosely tied ribbon.

Here are some tips to get the look:

First, use texturizing spray to build in some volume at the roots of your hair. I’ve mentioned before that I love Oribe dry texturizing spray.

Then, start to loosely sweep the hair over to the side, pulling it all to the side where you want the braid.

When you do a regular braid, you split the hair into three sections and then pull the outer sections over the middle section. For a reverse braid, you simply do the opposite: Pull each outer section under the middle section to create the braid.

Secure the bottom with an elastic.

To build some width to the braid, gently tug at each section as you work your way up the braid, which will widen and flatten the look of the braid.

That’s it! Set it with some hairspray, and you’ve got a beautiful reverse side braid!

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Big, bold earrings make a statement

When it comes to earrings this year, the look is big and bold with geometric patterns. Pendant earrings and large hoops are in, as are wraps that envelop the entire ear.

And at least one of the earrings is large if the runway models are any indication, bringing to mind the asymmetrical style of the 1980s with one large earring dangling from one ear while the other sports an understated stud.

Whether you go for a more conservative look or want to try some of the showy earrings seen in the fashion shows, here are a few that seize upon this year’s trends:

As far as bold statements go, check out this brass Gold Leaves cuff-to-post earring.

cufftochain earringHaati Chai Gold Leaves cuff-to-post earring, $168 on FreePeople.com

This single dangle earring, inspired by the works of artist Joan Miro, brings out geometric shapes in yellow, red and black with acrylic and metal elements.

miro earringBold Miro earring by Sheyne Design, $17

For wraps, the variety ranges from fierce dragons to cute kittens gamboling around your ear. I like the shape and design of ear cuffs from Vita Fede, such as these Crystal Teardrop Cutout pierced earring cuffs.

NMY1Z13_mkVita Fede Crystal Teardrop earring cuffs, $300 at Neiman Marcus

For pure elegance, check out these geometric Art Deco earrings with approximately 4 carats of diamonds set in platinum from William Noble Rare Jewels.

art deco earringsGeometric Art Deco earrings, William Noble Rare Jewels

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Finding your favorite boot

Of everything I like about fall fashion, one of my favorites has got to be boots!

Boots give you a chance to pair comfort with style and can look great with a skirt or pants to dress up or down.

But the challenge always lies in how to pick out the best pair. Boots that look perfect on the sales rack or in a picture may look much less than perfect on your feet. There are two main things at work when choosing a boot: The length of your legs and the shape of your calves.

Here are a few tips that I find helpful to keep in mind when shopping for boots:

Height

Knee-high boots tend to work well on most legs, no matter how long or wide. It may take some trail and error, but once you find a pair that fits you well, you’ll find that the length is particularly flattering on all body types.

Lombardia Suede-back knee boot

Alberto Fermani Lombardia Suede-back knee boot, $303 at Neiman Marcus

For longer legs, you can go even higher with over-the-knee boots. For shorter legs, a mid-calf or ankle boot will help lengthen your leg, particularly when worn with a pair of leggings the same color as the boots.

Those with wider calves should avoid boots that cut across the widest part of the leg, such as a pair of motorcycle boots or some combat boots, going either for a higher boot with some room in the calf or an ankle boot. Those with thin calves, on the other hand, may want a close-fitting, taller boot that won’t gap away from the leg or an ankle boot.

Heels

Boots range from flat soles to stiletto heels, so you have a wide range of choices. A thin heel works best with a thinner frame, while stacked heels work better with those who have curves from hip to ankle. A wedge heel can work with most body types, since wedge heels can be both wide or narrow. Flat soles, not surprisingly, do better on longer legs, while a platform wedge can add desired height if you’re shorter.

Via Spiga lace-up wedge

Via Spiga lace-up wedge booties, $275 at Bloomingdale’s

Details

Leg shape affects the amount and type of details you want on your boots as well.

Details that wrap around the boot horizontally (such as straps) help add width and definition, something you may want if you have thin calves but want to avoid if your calves are wider.

Burberry House Check Detail Riding boots

Burberry House Check Detail Riding boots, $895

Those with shorter legs may want details that draw the eye upward, such as vertical zippers or laces.

As a rule of thumb, the longer your leg, the more decoration you can get away with on your boots (even patterns, like we’re seeing more of this year). Boots with fewer accents will create more of an illusion of length.

It can be taxing to find that perfect pair of boots, but it’s a great feeling when you find the perfect pair. Hopefully, these tips will help you choose the best pair for this fall!

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Fabulous Fall Footwear

In footwear this fall, the trend seems to be going in two directions.

If you are looking at boots, the styles have grown a little tougher with serious straps and studs on ankle boots and combat boots paired with skirts.

At the same time, dress shoes are grabbing hold of the trend of adding a flash of metal or color (or both) to the more neutral colors of fall.

When it comes to boots, these Valentino “Rockstud” booties in calfskin leather have the straps and studs while still keeping to a more feminine line with that thin heel.

rockstudboot

Valentino “Rockstud” booties at Nordstrom, $1,375

Of course, if you’re feeling the need to pair a midiskirt with some combat boots, you can’t go wrong with Doc Martens, which have been the combat boot of choice for years. And some in the company’s new fall lineup look like a lot of fun. Check out these violet Pascal boots in “mirror shift suede.”

docmartens

Doc Martens Pascal boots, $135

As for dress shoes, the touch of sparkle or metal feels like a great way to jazz up a little black dress for the evening. A touch of metallic lipstick or eyeliner and a sharp pair of shoes are all you need.

This Casadei Evening pump comes in black suede embellished with Swarovski crystals and metallic elements for that sparkle and shine.

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Casadei Evening pump, $2,500

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Fall beauty: Sparkly eyes and natural faces

Makeup this fall is all about a splash of color and shimmer.

The fresh, clean look of minimal makeup or neutral tones on cheeks is made to pop with color focused on eyes or lips, often in metallic hues.

I love the way a smudge of silver can brighten eye makeup, particularly when it is applied close to the inside corner and in the center of the eyelid. A bronze tone can carry both eyes and lips, while a little gold eyeliner applied sparingly over your regular eyeliner can take your eyes from work to weekend in one quick sweep.

I’ve found a few fun ways to dress up eyes this fall.

Check out this quick video tutorial from Makeup by Siham to give eyes a silver, smoky look.

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Makeup by Siham tutorial

Or, if you’re feeling more colorful, look at the way the blue, black and glint of gold give an almost peacock effect to this eye artistry.

Colorfuleye 5
Makeup by Siham tutorial

One reason sparkly, colorful eyes work is because they are set off against the blank canvas of a minimally made-up face.

To get that more natural look with the appearance of flawless skin, start first with a good skincare routine, including cleansing and moisturizing your face. Then cover blemishes and go light on both the foundation and powder to cover your face without caking on makeup. You can stop there or use a light or warm blush on your cheeks for a little more definition.

I like this quick tutorial from Sephora with some good tips on getting that “no-makeup look.”

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Sephora “No-Makeup Look” tutorial

Then the only thing you have to worry about is where you want to draw attention with color!

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Infused water: A delicious way to a healthy you

photo credit: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/forayinto35mm/8711173199/">forayinto35mm</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: forayinto35mm via photopin cc

If you’re going to pick up something to sip during the day, the best way to go is a bottle of water. After all, water does great things for your body, including your skin.

According to Kaiser Permanente, water is the best choice for keeping hydrated because it’s free and has no sugar or calories. Kaiser recommends having a glass of water first thing in the morning and keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Drinking water helps your body flush wastes and even keep at the right temperature. When it comes to beauty, water helps keep your skin hydrated from the inside out, something that can help fight flakes and wrinkles.

But, still, there is often the lure of the fizz from a soda can or the sweet mouth-feel of one of the many bottled juices you can find in the supermarket. When you want something a little more tempting than plain water, infusing it with fruit or herbs can do the trick.

Infused water can give you the hydration you need with a little added flavor. Try out some of my favorite combinations with filtered tap water or, for some added pizzazz, some sparkling water:

* Sliced cucumber and fresh peppermint leaves

* Sliced lemon, lime or orange (or all three!)

* Blueberries and blackberries with lavender

* Lemon verbena and peppermint

* Sliced grapefruit and rosemary

* Chunks of watermelon and fresh basil leaves

Recipes usually need about four hours of soaking time, but can be mixed and kept in the refrigerator overnight for full flavor the next day. You can use an infuser or strainer to avoid herbs and fruit chunks floating around in your water.

And feel free to experiment with new flavors you might enjoy, such as adding in green or red rooibos tea to some of these combinations. I’d love to hear some of your favorites!

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Quick morning wake-up makeup

photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer via photopin cc
photo credit: Katie Tegtmeyer via photopin cc

As the start of school draws near, I think some quick morning pick-me-ups are in order. Whether you’re a mom trying to get the kids to the bus on time or a student making that early morning class, these quick tips will get you looking wide awake and refreshed (even when you’re not).

Splash on the cool — not cold — water: Even if you have time for the luxury of a shower, take a moment to splash that tired face with some cool water over the sink. Bags under your eyes? Try to sneak a cold, wet washcloth on them for a few minutes.

All-in-one coverage: Grab a tinted moisturizer that has sun protection built in to give you some basic coverage in a single application. Beauty Bioscience has a 4-in-1 Tinted SPF 30 solution that gives you great moisturizing while protecting your skin and allowing you to skip the foundation — or apply a little bit of your own on top.

product_image_4IN1T30Beauty Bioscience 4-in-1 Tinted SPF 30, $75

Mascara for eyes: If there’s no time to brush on eyeshadow or liner, go for the mascara, which will give you some definition around the eyes without a lot of effort. A mascara like Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara will give you added length and great coverage quickly.

096018243027_BROWN_DEFINICILSLancome Definicils High Definition Mascara, $27.50

Go for the lip gloss: Lip gloss is one of those wonderful things that you can apply even without a mirror handy. So grab it out of your purse, run it over your lips and then head out of the house or into the office. Go for something neutral or lightly tinted. VMV Hypoallergenics has a range of lip gloss shades that are free of all the stuff you don’t want in your lip gloss, with added sun protection. I like their lip glitter gloss, which gives you a bit of sparkle, too.

lg-lipglitterglossVMV Hypoallergenics’ Lip Glitter Gloss, $27

With a few quick steps and applications, you should be ready to start the day in no time.

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Packing tips for a weekend trip

photo credit: elitatt via photopin cc
photo credit: elitatt via photopin cc

Before school starts, it is tempting to fit in a weekend trip with the family, a romantic escape with your spouse or some time away with the girls. When you’re packing for your adventures, here are some of my favorite tips to keep you looking your best without having to carry along bulging bags.

  • Go lightweight: To keep down the weight in the suitcase, go for lighter fabrics, such as silks, rayon or some of the newer synthetic materials, such as Tencel. Bring along a sweater that can go over anything for cooler evenings or air-conditioned rooms.
  • Avoid wrinkles: Knits and cotton-polyester blends pack well without wrinkling. Try rolling clothes to avoid wrinkles as well. Wrinkles that do show up in wrinkle-resistant clothing can steam out while hanging in the bathroom during your shower.
  • Choose neutral base colors: Whether white, tan or black, choose a couple base colors that will pair easily with everything else, so each pair of pants or skirt can be worn with any of the shirts you’ve packed.
  • Pack some patterns: While having those base neutral colors is important to ensure you have plenty of matching combinations from just a few items, remember to pack a few prints that can pair with those neutrals. Prints can help hide wrinkles and stains, making them invaluable on a trip where they may be worn a few times.
  • Sandals: One perk to summertime travel is you don’t have to worry about a bunch of bulky boots and shoes to pair with all of your ensembles. Find a low-heeled pair of sandals that are just as comfortable with a dress as a pair of slacks or shorts. Go for comfort if you’ll be walking a lot – though comfort doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style!

For more quick packing ideas, particularly for those of you hopping on a plane for a fun getaway, take a look back at my Simplified Summer Suitcase post from last year!

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Five-minute hair fixes

Last week I wrote about some fun movie styles, including fun hairstyles. But, while those styles created a great look, they weren’t quick fixes.

Oribe dry texturizing spray gives my hair the look I want -- in no time!
Oribe dry texturizing spray gives my hair the look I want — in no time!

This week, I wanted to look at a few five-minute hair fixes that I love, particularly in the summer when the heat and humidity can make those tresses wild.

One of the easiest ways to fix your hair is grabbing a bottle of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray. I love the stuff. You spray it on your dry hair and style as it builds in volume and texture, absorbing oil at the roots. This works great on a hot day when you want to style a few soft curls and leave your hair down or if you want to try one of the messy updos that are popular this summer.

 

Because it’s supposed to look soft, with flyaways and rogue curls refusing to be trapped, the messy updo becomes a quick and easy way to make troublesome hair look nice when it simply won’t behave. “Hair jewelry” is the accessory of the moment, and some fancy clips and hairbands make this look more sophisticated. It’s the perfect pairing for a summer dress or peasant top.

photo credit: jonesodadrinkr via photopin cc
photo credit: jonesodadrinkr via photopin cc

The other approach is to style a long, sleek ponytail in back and you’ve got summer style in no time. A hair comb with a bit of sparkle can take that ponytail from the grocery store to an office party. Check out this pretty handcrafted hair bling on Etsy.

etsy hair jewelry
photo credit: PRHeaddress on Etsy

To keep it all looking sleek and under control, try a little smoothing serum, such as Oribe’s Smooth Style Serum. That will help tame the frizz and give it some moisture and hold when you fashion the ponytail.

If your hair’s too short for a ponytail, just slip a hairband into place or maybe use a few strategically placed decorative barrettes.

photo credit: David Gaborit via photopin cc
photo credit: David Gaborit via photopin cc

With a couple great hair products at hand and a few cute accessories, you can have fabulous hair in five minutes — or less!

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Movie looks for summer

I love looking at fun ways to explore fashion and beauty trends, and a recent piece from Allure did just that — highlighting some hot looks from blockbuster movies in the recent, and not-so-recent, past.

x_men_the_last_stand_1
Halle Berry’s hair in X-Men: The Last Stand

I like the thought of getting some new ideas from the big screen, whether Lea Thompson’s subtle, natural makeup in Back to the Future or Halle Berry’s hair in a previous X-Men movie (though I prefer her styles in the last two movies, such as the one seen here, over the one selected by Allure for its list).

And what better time to try out a movie look, whether for a concert in the park or even a night out for dinner and a movie?

The piece started me thinking about some other movie styles that inspire a bit of fun, particularly with your hair.

I recently stumbled upon the site CuteGirlsHairstyles.com. This site is full of tutorials on how to do different hairstyles, including those from different movies. And, while there are tons of cute ideas to try out on a daughter or niece, I think plenty of them work great on adults.

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The Katniss-inspired diagonal Dutch braid from CuteGirlsHairstyles.com

What about Katniss’ braid from The Hunger Games series? It has tutorials on how to make that diagonal Dutch braid.

Elsa’s braid from Frozen? Yep, they’ve got that one, too.

Or, reaching further back, there is the classic French twist, such as Audrey Hepburn wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. If you’ve got the long locks for it, the twist and bun on top, complete with tiara or jeweled clip, can add a bit of glamour for the evening.

audrey_hepburn_hairstyle3-300x232
Channel your inner Audrey Hepburn with this tutorial from JustBebexo.com

JustBebexo.com, another fun site full of hair tutorials, has a great one on putting together Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly look. There’s also a tutorial on the makeup if you want to put the whole look together with a little black dress and gloves for the evening.

Whether it’s the style of clothes, the hair or the makeup, if you see something you like while at the movies this summer, why not give it a try? If you have any to share, I’d love to hear some of your favorite movie looks.

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