Everyday Makeup for Beginners (Updated Video) & Small Giveaway

I've received many emails from women who are just starting out with makeup, and are unsure where to begin. I was in the same boat a year ago, but have since ended up with a simple routine that works for me, for the time being. My skills are rudimentary, so I'm hoping to learn tips from a beauty guru friend soon.
I did think twice before posting this (as the internet is a haven for people who like to criticize and judge), but I'm pretty comfortable with my bare face. As one discovers and uses more makeup, I think it's important to not become dependent on it to feel acceptable. That being said, makeup can really do wonders to enhance features. Nature gave me small eyes and stubby lashes, but in this video you can see the effects of some simple shadow and liner.

If you are just starting out with makeup, feel free to play around and skip steps that you don't need. For example, if you have great skin, then concealer and foundation may not be necessary. If you don't like the feeling of eye paint aka liner, then you can skip the liquid liner and instead darken the liner eyeshadow.

Products used: Make Up For Ever Duo Mat Foundation in shade 203, MAC Select Cover-Up in NW25, Rock & Republic Blush (sadly discontinued) in Immoral, ELF Eyelid Primer, NYX Smokey Eyes Palette, Lorac Liquid Liner, and Lancome Definicils Mascara.
At first I was overwhelmed with the selection of shadow brushes, but I guess they really do have their own purpose. I recommend at least the following: flat shadow brush, precision shadow brush (for lining), and fluffy blending brush. You can get them for $1 to $3 a pop on ELF (be sure to search around for coupon codes).
As I'm wearing more makeup, I realize the importance of taking it all off at the end of the day. I absolutely love Lancome's Bi-Facil eye makeup remover. It's very pricey at retail but I buy the sample-size bottles in bulk on eBay (can you tell I love eBay?). I've tried a few drugstore brands and some irritated my eyes so badly I went and asked for my money back. Lancome's remover is super gentle and a few wipes is all it takes.

Readers - I am trying to find a liquid waterproof liner that has amazing staying power but won't break the bank. I've retired my old cheapie NYC $3 liners because they flake off. This $23 one works beautifully, but is too pricey for me. Any suggestions?

Christian Louboutin Simple Pumps vs Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps

Two beautiful shoes, two very different price points.
Louboutin Simple 100 Pumps (buy here) vs. Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps (buy here)
Video Review:

Vest & dress: H&M  Beaded necklace: F21 (buy here)  Nails: Revlon Tropical Temptation

Top: H&M ruffle bib blouse sz 2 (old)
Jeans: Gap Legging Jeans in "dark rinse" sz 00P
Bag: LV Speedy 25    Ring: YSL Coral sz 5



More comparison shots:



It wasn't easy tracking down a nude sz 35. The stores were full of a "bone" color, which unfortunately is more of a bridal, eggshell white. Right after I got these, an SA managed to find the original shoe I was coveting (New Simples - just like Simples but with a thin 1/2" platform). Those are now en route to my grubby hands, so I will need the help of dear readers in deciding which nude CL's to keep.

Converse Chambray Comes Out to Play (& small giveaway)

Thank you everyone for your sweet comments on my last post. I caught Nick checking back a few times (he usually never reads my blog) just to revel in your praise. Today we're back to the self-tripod pics, which will become synonymous with good sports being on TV.
Since being unexpectedly welcomed as a "keeper" last month, this Converse for Target chambray shirt has quickly ascended to MVP status within my wardrobe. The shade is perfect (not too denim-y), the material is comfy, and it is just too easy to pair. I can't think of a single bottom that it doesn't go with. If you don't have a similar shirt in your wardrobe yet...you are missing out!
Necklaces: Layered akoya pearls and cameo (both from ebay)
Cardigan: Martin & Osa sz XS (similar)
Shoes: Aldo sz 36 (too big...need 35) (similar

The fit of a womens XS right off the rack (see original post here) was passable, but definitely not perfect on me. I thought I shrunk it with a wash & dry, but I was wrong. The material must be pre-shrunk cotton, because it didn't get smaller.
I wore it to my tailors and ended up getting the torso and sleeves slimmed on the spot for a whopping $15 (almost the price of the shirt!). But I couldn't be happier with the results. The subtle 1 inch slimming on both sides and sleeves makes a world of a difference when the shirt is tucked in (before alterations, it was too poofy for tucking).
Like with any button-up shirt, the key is to make sure the shirt fits with a lil' room to spare at the widest part of your bust. This top looks unflattering on the Target model because it's stretched taught across her chest. Larger chested women should possibly order dress shirts in a size up and then have the sides slimmed and waist nipped in. Nothing looks worse than the buttons right at the chest gaping.
While helping Vicky hunt for her cameo, I ended up with an extra one. Please fill out the short form below if you are interested in winning this vintage green Peri signed cameo. I'll select the winner at random later this week. Giveaway is open internationally : )

On a separate note, Target is having buy one get one 50% off shoes right now. If you were considering the Tawny wedges then this isn't a bad deal. Also I've gotten a few questions about my nude Target Virginia pumps. I really don't recommend them (stiff and uncomfortable), but they've come out with another nude/taupe heel that I haven't tried yet called the Pearce pumps. If you're ordering, don't forget to use the retailmenot $5 coupon and ebates for 3% cash back.

Petite Lookbook: Remixing the Petite Favorites

As a blogger and avid blog reader, I enjoy taking inspiration and recommendations from others. It's fun to see the same items or outfit tips on different people, but it's also easy to lose one's style identity within this smaller blogging niche. One way I try to incorporate "identity" into outfits composed of ubiquitous petite favorites is through jewelry and layering. I love shopping on eBay and thrift stores for (hopefully) unique pieces, and layering textures to create a different look.

In this outfit are three petite faves: LOFT cuffed pants (Kelly's signature pants : P), AT Factory shell, and AT skinny belt. I added a little lace vest and a basketweave swing jacket for texture, plus thrifted pearls and my coral ring for a pop of color.

See this outfit in LOFT's facebook pants feature : )
Vest: H&M Crochet Lace Vest sz XS (very similar here)
Top: Ann Taylor Factory Chiffon Ruffle Shell sz XXSP (info in this post)
Swing Jacket: Banana Republic sz 0 (altered)
Purse: LV Speedy 25  Belt: Ann Taylor Skinny Belt

These pants were from last season, but LOFT has brought back a similar version in the same Marisa cut, cropped length w/ cuffs, in a dark gray melange material and lightweight wool material. Both are currently available online in 00P. 
Slingbacks: Banana Republic sz 5.5 (old)
With flats (Cole Haan sz 5) for commuting:

Ring: YSL Coral Arty in sz 5 (get 6% cashback w/ ebates)
Pearls: thrifted   Earrings: Chanel turnlock studs

Readers - what defines your personal style? How do you keep it unique?

Current Hair Curling Routine: Easy Loose Waves

When it comes to haircare, my goals are: low-maintenance and acceptable-looking. I've gotten a few hair tutorial requests lately, which is flattering, but hairstyling is not my forte. Here is a short video of my daily (well, every other day) routine.

And just in case anyone doubted my naturally coarse and thick hair, here it is (right) in its frightening glory:
Steps shown in video: 
1. Add volume to the crown area as hair dries. This step is a must for me (I've tried hot rollers & teasing w/no success).
2. Divide hair into 4-6 sections (the larger the sections, the less heat reaches your hair so the more loose the waves will be)
3. Curl the ends outward w/ a 1.5" to 2" barrel iron (this one is $25 including ship). Curl counter-clockwise with hair to your left, clockwise for hair to your right. Hold for 10 seconds before releasing.
4. Put hair up in a loose bun and spray w/ hairspray. Let down and fluff.

Products used: whatever is on sale at the drugstore. Currently using Aussie shampoo, conditioner and hairspray. You can make your waves last another day by sleeping with your hair in one or two loose buns, then re-touching the ends with a curler the next morning if needs be.

PS - Gap Give and Get is back, from March 17th to 19th. Here is a 30% off your entire purchase printable coupon, good at Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and their outlet stores! The in-store coupon is good for multiple uses, however my online code is just one-time use.

Fashion Thursdays

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of watching my friend model at the Liberty Hotel. That afternoon, I peered into my closet and was suddenly alarmed - I had nothing fabulous to wear. As I am aging, long gone are the days of partying past 2am on weeknights. My wardrobe has slowly been whittled down to about 90% professional attire, plus some casual stragglers. There's no excuse for this tragedy...I hope to infuse some fun pieces into my wardrobe this year.

I was relegated to wearing this old H&M sz 4 (yes, 4...it runs so small) bandage dress plus black ankle booties.
My glamorous bff doing her thing:

BB Dakota Groton Tweed Skirt & 20% off Chanel Sale

I've gotten many questions regarding a skirt on my sidebar, so I apologize for this past-due review. Unfortunately, size 0 is sold out on most sites, but it could pop back in stock or even show up on a sample site (got mine from Gilt). My photog was out of commission today, so here are my first ever-attempts at self-photography. It's darn hard!
Top: Ann Taylor Factory Petal Shell in Winter White, sz XXSP
Skirt: BB Dakota "Groton" Tweed Skirt sz 0 (buy here)
Cardigan: Martin & Osa sz XS (similar here in XXS on sale)
Belt: AT Perfect Patent Belt sz S (buy here) (hole-puncher info here)

Style: The style of this skirt is meant to be high-waisted and short, with a slight tulip poof. This really isn't a skirt for professional wear due to the length - more fun and flirty. Nevertheless, I've worn it to work a few times already over opaque tights, which makes it look less inappropriate. I wish I could find a skirt like this with a classic pencil silhouette.

Fit: I got the size 0, and the waist fits me perfectly with no alterations. There is an inch of room on both sides of the hips, but due to the style I think it's passable. Length hits me at mid-thigh. Aubrey from ProudyPetite is slightly bigger than me, and reviewed this skirt here.
Measurements: size 0 is 12" across the waist, 17" across the widest part of the hips, and 16.5" long.

Quality / Value: The tweed material (or is this technically called boucle?) is nice and thick, but I'm bummed that this skirt is unlined. I'm not sure how the decision was made to not line an itchy skirt that retails for $90! I got it for $40 on Gilt plus shipping, and was too lazy to return it. The lowest price I've seen was $26.99 on Modcloth.

Verdict: Like the material, but don't like the silhouette or length. I already wore it a few times so I'm keeping. I'm not sure if I'd buy from BB Dakota anymore because the style and cut are truly that of a junior's clothing line - good for casual wear but not for work.

My perfect pumps arrived last week along with my Ann Taylor Factory petal shells. Twitter friends saw a preview, but here they are again. The petals are washed out in my lackluster self-pics, but in-person they are very pretty as expected. The shoes are also a nice, neutral rich brown - looks identical to their Cognac pair from 2009. Size 5 fits me perfectly.
Shoes: Ann Taylor Perfect Pumps in Saddle Brown, sz 5 (buy here)