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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Soothing facials for summer skin

As promised, I want to share with you some of my favorite home facial recipes for pampering yourself a bit this summer. These are all great skin-soothers.

photo credit: Danielle Scott via photopin cc
photo credit: Danielle Scott via photopin cc

Cucumber-yogurt

I love the way cucumber cools, soothes and moisturizes your skin, and you or someone in your neighborhood probably has a bumper crop of cucumbers this time of year that you could use in this recipe.

Mix about half of a peeled cucumber in the blender with a teaspoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Apply and let dry about 15 minutes and then rinse away with lukewarm water.

The cucumbers and yogurt will help to clean and hydrate your skin, while the olive oil will moisturize. This facial is especially helpful for faces that spent a bit too long in the sun.

 

photo credit: JIGGS IMAGES via photopin cc
photo credit: JIGGS IMAGES via photopin cc

 

Avocado-coconut

Another favorite for soaking your skin with moisture is avocado. Mash up a ripe avocado and slowly add a little coconut oil (about a teaspoon). Apply, let dry about 15 minutes, then wipe and wash away.

Honey-aloe

Honey is great, too, for softening dry skin. You can add a little honey to either of the above recipes, or try a little honey mixed with a little aloe vera gel for a cool, gentle (although a little sticky) facial. Try about 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 tablespoon of aloe. Same rules apply: Put on the mask, let it dry and then wash away with lukewarm water. This is a great one for sensitive skin.

photo credit: Purple Sherbet Photography via <a
photo credit: Purple Sherbet Photography via <a

If your honey has hardened, you can warm it for a few seconds in the microwave before mixing it into a recipe, but just make sure that it’s not too hot.

Remember that any of these recipes are not only good for the face, but also can be used for a little added TLC on rough hands, arms, elbows or knees – so feel free to apply any extra wherever you may need it (and maybe follow your facial with a relaxing soak in the tub!).

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Skincare tips for your camping trip

photo credit: Jenni Lloyd via photopin cc
photo credit: Jenni Lloyd via photopin cc

This summer season, many individuals and families are making time for a little camping, hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

photo credit: Korey Nagel
photo credit: Korey Nagel

Getting away from it all takes on many forms. The “glamping” trend, which can include staying in luxurious tents with gourmet meals, continues to flourish. There also are more family-friendly campsites, complete with playgrounds and swimming pools.

Whether you are more drawn to luxury camping or pitching a tent under the stars, one thing is certain: The great outdoors can be wonderful for taking a step away from the bustle of the world, but time spent in the elements this summer can be rough on your skin.

In all honesty, it would be very hard to go camping while maintaining a regular skincare routine. But there are some things to keep in mind that will help keep your skin in shape even when you are miles away from the nearest facial scrub.

 

 

  • Use sunscreen. Make sure you use a “broad spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, and a water-resistant formula will hold up better against all the sweating that comes with camping. Apply a coat and then repeat – because the second coat can help you cover the areas you may have missed the first time. (For when you do miss a spot, make sure to pack some aloe vera gel for soothing sunburns.) I like Yes to Cucumbers for an effective, natural sunscreen, and the company even offers a fun, shimmery after-sun serum to soothe your skin.

yesbundle

Yes to Cucumbers Suncare Bundle, $31

  • Dress for the occasion. Sunscreen is good for exposed areas, but remember that covering up with a good hat and loose-fitting shirts and pants can help protect your skin. There are all kinds of camping and hiking clothes that provide sun protection while wicking away moisture and allowing your skin to “breathe.” This Columbia Insect Blocker knit shirt at REI has 15 SPF sun protection and insect repellent built into the fabric!

Columbiashirt

Columbia Insect Blocker Knit Shirt, $41

  • Remember to wash your face! Sunscreen, insect repellent, oils and sweat on your skin (not to mention all of the dirt!) create a mess at the end of the day. If you aren’t in a cabin with hot showers, bring a washcloth and gentle cleanser along in a travel-size tube or toss a small pack of cleansing facial wipes into your backpack for quick cleanup. The same applies to the rest of your body. Even if you don’t have a shower available, make time to wipe away the sweat that can clog pores and irritate your skin. These Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes at Sephora get the job done while babying your skin with a mix of cucumber, aloe, chamomile and Vitamin E.

bearwipes

Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes, $12

If you feel the need for some pampering when you get home, I’ll post some of my favorite natural facial recipes next week to help soothe your skin and remove the grunge. Happy camping!

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