Tag: fashion

500 Channel Subscribers and Next Week


Very excited to tell you that I have 500 subscribers to my channel.  Thank you to any of you that have subscribed.  I really appreciate all the support I have gotten from this blog in so many ways. You have no idea what it has and will continue to mean to me.

Just wanted to let you guys know that I am going to be going on a business trip tomorrow. It’s the first time I will be meeting my boss and coworkers in person and I am really excited (and a little nervous if I’m honest!).  I got new suitcoats so hopefully I will fit right in.

business suitsAnyway, I am not sure how much I will be able to post but I will do my best.  If I go a week to 10 days sorry!  Love you guys and wish me luck.  I am so grateful for this blog that really gave me this job.  It got the ball rolling and has helped me reach my dreams so thank you to all of you!

We will talk next week!!

Straight and Blue Hair Tutorial

1972532_10152157768842239_1911689711_nHey guys! So today I must admit I felt beautiful.  My whole look came together in a way that doesn’t always happen.  I got a lot of positive feedback so I thought it would be fun to dissect the look so that you could try it out. This is something new for the blog so let me know what you think.

10152535_10152157765057239_115113178_nThe whole look is based on starting out with straight hair.  Some of the rules for straightening hair as curly and as long as mine is

1. It must be completely dry.  Any rain or moisture will make it curl up quickly.

2. Have at least an hour (I don’t do it very often because it takes a long time and to be honest my arm gets sore holding up the hair and flat ironing it.)

3. Make sure to use an iron guard to protect your hair from getting too fried.

So let’s start with the flat iron.  I have several but when I am straightening all my hair and it’s as long as it currently is (haven’t cut it since September) I use my full size iron.  These are hard to find and I couldn’t find a great link for you.

I got mine probably 5 years ago from a beauty supply shop that my stylist got me into.  This is the closest I found http://www.target.com/p/conair-infiniti-pro-tourmaline-2-ceramic-flat-iron-black/-/A-14653495

P1010512I like to start with dry hair. I usually shower the night before and then do the treatment in the morning.  It wouldn’t make a huge difference but saves you from having to blow dry your hair and given the beating it’s going to take that is a good thing.

Make sure to get the back of your hair and the underneath layers (that’s the part that takes the longest). I also have it on the highest setting because my hair is so curly that’s what it takes which is why…

You must use some protecting treatment on your hair.  My 2 favorites are:

CHI Iron Guard- I’ve had this bottle for years so it is $14 well spent.  It protects your hair from the heat and helps it look silky and smooth. It looks like hair spray but it’s not. You can’t feel it after it is applied and then your flat iron is used, and I put it on quite liberally.    http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=xlsImpprod4730015

P1010513and VO5 Make It Straight Gel with Heat Protection.  A little of this goes a long way, but I couldn’t even tell you how long I’ve had this bottle. This is also hard to find but here’s a link but they are out of stock.  http://www.medshopexpress.com/095863.html

There are several different variations now of V05 straightening products but the reviews aren’t as good so I don’t know whether to recommend them.

P1010514I also make sure my hair is as tangle free as possible.  This usually means it is puffy and a mess before starting.  I have been enjoying this dry conditioner I got as a birchbox bonus item. http://www.birchbox.com/shop/serge-normant-meta-luxe-dry-conditioner

P1010517Then I literally spend an hour taking each section spraying iron guard and then flat ironing it.  Once I’m finished a section I use a high quality hair spray to set the area.

For today’s look I added blue streaks throughout using my latest friend Hot Huez Hair Chalk (any hair chalk will work fine but this is wildly available at Wallgreens and is under $15 for 4 colors). http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Huez-Temporary-Chalk-Set-Colors/dp/B00DRA91A0

101_PANAOnce you’ve applied the chalk set with hairspray again.  Also use a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab to get rid of any chalk on your face. This wears down after a few hours so I wouldn’t recommend it for an all-day affair like a wedding unless you have blonde hair but for an evening out or afternoon it’s a lot of fun.

Another good thing about the hair chalk is that it is just subtle enough to surprise people without being garish or over-the-top.  I love it.

So that was my hair.  Now for my makeup, which I think turned out great too.

Blue Hair Rachel 1First I used my borghese brightening cream foundation. I got this in one of my boxes and I love it.  It’s light and helps with my redness without feeling cakey. http://www.amazon.com/Borghese-Splendore-Brightening-Body-Ounce/dp/B000A85FP2

borgheseNext, I used Avon You’re Blushing Plum stick.  I’ve had this forever too, so definitely worth the cost. It’s so easy to apply and doesn’t look heavy (I’m not normally a blush fan). http://www.amazon.com/Avon-Youre-Blushing-Cheek-Color/dp/B00ADX52P2

P1010525For lips I used a Lip Do from Model and Co, which is one of my favorite brands of late.  A birchbox favorite I actually got this duo in my recent Popsugar Must Have box and I really like both the lipstick and lip gloss. The feel is really good.  It lasts a long time and doesn’t dry out my lips.

Here’s a great deal for all 3 color sets and their mascara http://www.modelcocosmetics.com/shop/lip-lash-kit

101_PANA1For my eyes I used 2 products-

NYC Eyeliner Duet You’ve Got the Power 883. In this case I just used the gray not the black side.  I got this in a box at some point but it is a low cost very useful liner. http://www.amazon.com/N-Y-C-Eyeliner-Duet-Youve-Power/dp/B000W99X4I

P1010523Next I used Covergirl Bombshell Shine Shadow Ice Queen as the eye shadow above the liner.  This is a sample I got in my Birchbox Finds box which featured products from your local pharmacy such as Wallgreens. It’s a really good shadow and not overly glittery or clumpy (I crease really bad with my eye shadow)  http://www.target.com/p/covergirl-bombshell-shine-shadow-eye-shadow/-/A-15013236 P1010524I think that is everything.  Let me know what you think of this concept.  Is this something you’d like to see more of?

Some of the photography I will try to do better next time.  The samples are small that the camera struggles to, but I enjoyed experimenting with it.

Have any of you used any of these products or companies?  Do you flat iron your hair?  What do you think of the look? I really felt beautiful and that’s of course more important than anything else.

Purple Hair

Shameless plug


Before starting this entry I want to put in a plug for my youtube channel.  I have just organized my videos by category- swim, faith, boxing, singing, health, food subscriptions, makeup subscriptions and lifestyle subscriptions.

Even if you don’t go on youtube much I would really appreciate it if you could subscribe to my channel, maybe like a few of my videos. I’d love to make the videos more professional, create an intro, maybe review some movies.  I have lots of ideas, so if you feel so inclined head over to http://www.youtube.com/smilingldsgirl


Ok.  So back to the real story.  Growing up my Mother made it very clear if either my sister and I got a tattoo or dyed our hair we would be in big trouble (more for the tattoo but still).   At least that was the impression I had.

I also thought my mother didn’t want me to wear make up which wasn’t true so who knows what her real stance was?  Anyway, she at the least discouraged it but I think part of that is she always loved my natural color of hair, as do I.

That said, I did always wonder what it would be like to have blonde hair or black, something different.  Now mind you I have had basically the same hair style since I was 15 years old (past shoulder, usually curly/wavy with long layers).  This is me at 17 and it’s pretty much never changed:

seniorI had one ill advised attempt at short hair in college which I thankfully do not have a photo of and I vowed to never go short again, especially really short.  My feeling is that once you have short pixie cut you can never go back because the growing out process is so awkward most give up.

A short bob that I had at one point made me look like a poodle because the curls were very pronounced at that length.   Anyway, I’ve always had the same hair and liked it.


On my mission I didn’t get my hair cut one time because I didn’t trust anyone and didn’t want to use precious break time to do it (I was always hoping for a comp who was a stylist but no luck) .  This is me in the last month of my mission.


You can see how long and scraggly it got but I still kind of like it.  My mission was like a pressure cooker of stress, emotion, panic and exaltation and I noticed the within the first 6 months I noticed a gray hair and then another and more.

By the time I went home I had a lot and it was honestly quite upsetting.  I had enough things going against me with my weight and general awkwardness, gray hairs seemed unfair!

I go in spurts where I like to color my own hair but I never cut it by myself
I go in spurts where I like to color my own hair but I never cut it by myself

So, it wasn’t soon after I got home that I started coloring my hair.  Not because I don’t like my color but because I didn’t want the increasingly prominent grays to show.  I have one spot on the left side of my head that is almost entirely gray roots if I did not color it and I’m just not ready for that.  As the divine Nora Ephron said:

“There’s a reason why forty, fifty, and sixty don’t look the way they used to, and it’s not because of feminism, or better living through exercise. It’s because of hair dye. In the 1950’s only 7 percent of American women dyed their hair; today there are parts of Manhattan and Los Angeles where there are no gray-haired women at all.”

Well said.  Once I had given into the idea of hair dye I wondered what sort of colors I should pick.  Most of the time I go with something fairly similar to my natural color because that’s what I like but occasionally I’ve added tints of red, black, and even auburn.  I tend to shy away from highlights because they are so hard and expensive to maintain (plus they don’t really help with the gray problem).

This is me after my last cut and color.  I have colored it once by myself since then.
This is me after my last cut and color. I have colored it once by myself since then.

Nevertheless, I still wanted to try something bolder but never had the guts.  Blonde, maybe a streak of pink, green or purple would be so much fun, but it’s such a big risk and it’s my hair, my beautiful hair.  😉  So I kept it the relatively the same.

Then the other day I was at Wallgreen’s and I always stop by the ‘as seen on tv’ section usually for a good laugh but I saw these:

hot huezHAIR CHALK!  I had never heard of such a thing!  The package is $15.95 for 4 colors (about 2 treatments per palate) and it washes away in one shampoo (more for blonde hair).  I brought it home and gave the purple a try and here’s what it looked like

purple hair 1
It looks like I have short hair in this picture but I don’t.

purple hair 2 I must say I was kind of stunned with how good it looked.  It made me feel happy to see my face in the mirror.  Something about the purple is energizing and alive.  Dont you agree?  Everyone I have talked to loves the purple hair.  I got tons of positive feedback today at church, and my social networking friends on instagram, facebook and twitter have been resoundingly positive.

I have to admit that it has made me wonder.  Should I go purple?  What do you guys think?  Is it too out there for everyday?

I mean I think I could give Katy Perry a run for her money…

katy-perry-premiere-3I would have to find someone to do it that I really trusted which has been tough lately.  I wouldn’t let just anyone dye my hair purple.  Thoughts?

Gwynnie Bee

Hi guys! I wanted to tell you about a cool new service for plus size fashion.  Readers of this blog may remember my feelings on plus size fashion as featured on this blog https://smilingldsgirl.com/2010/10/16/a-note-on-plus-size-fashion/ 

However, bad fashion aside one of the problems bigger girls like me has is that our sizes can fluctuate greatly depending on a ton of different factors.   I’ve changed sizes in as quick as a month both on the upswing and downswing.  This can be extremely discouraging and expensive.  Most of the time it leaves us girls wearing frumpy clothes that are too lose or tight (both depressing).  You don’t feel pretty but you don’t want to invest in new clothing that you may only wear for a couple of months.  So you end up buying something cheap that is hardly flattering.  Basically you settle.

Well, someone has finally figured out a solution to this problem.  Its called Gwynnie Bee.  It is basically the netflix of clothes.  You log on to the site and then build up your ‘closet’ full of shirts, skirts, dresses and blazers (no pants for some reason?) and all of them are size 10 to 30 and designer names.  You can then pick a plan ranging from $35 for one piece of clothing, $59 for 2, $79 for 3.  For basically the price of a pair of jeans you can look fresh and new.

It only takes 2 days to send you your clothes and it includes a usps bag to seal up the garments when you are finished.  Then in 2-4 days you get the next items on your list.  Here’s an overview

Don’t you think that is a clever idea?  My only concern is that I need pretty modest clothes because of my religion and they have too many short dresses (I am also 5 ‘8 so what is short to me may be just right for some).  Right now you can try for free for 30 days.


What do you guys think?

2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee.  What do you think?
2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee. What do you think?

Memorable Jewelry

Lately my fashion has been lacking (really for like the last 2 years!).  I just haven’t been able to get my style back since I lost the initial weight.  I like the styles from around 2005 dark or bright colors, structured colors, slimming waist line, lower waist jeans.  It seems like everything the last few years has been very ruffly, light, pale, vintagy and just not me.

Part of the problem is I am always coming from either the pool or the gym.  A lot of my life ends up being in workout clothes or swimsuits.  I haven’t quite figured that out yet.  Plus, I work from home so sometimes the motivation to have real fashion just isn’t there.  Especially when I don’t like the fashions anyway.

One thing I have developed over the years is a little jewelry collection.  Nothing expensive but a lot of pieces that have meaning. I wear them and I feel they express who I am at that moment.  They remind me of who I am and help me get through hard times.

I prefer necklaces that are longer (around 18′) and that have one distinct feature so I can wear it with many outfits.  The nice thing about necklaces is that they always fit no matter what size I am 🙂

Here are some of my favorites (all of these I got over time and most under $20)

2 sea glass necklaces. I love the idea of carrying a piece of the sea next to my heart always. Non-elephant piece purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TidelineDesigns.  Elephant from http://www.etsy.com/shop/seaglassgems4you
The moon to remind me to dream big. Purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/rainnua
Sloth necklace. Wear it when I’m in one of my workaholic modes. Purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/marymaryhandmade
This is probably my most prized necklace. I bought it at a dark spot in 2007. It reminds me to be bold, happy and free.  I bought it at Dear Lizzie in Highland.
I got this one earlier this year when going through a tough time. God is bigger. I hold it close to my heart.  This is purchased from http://therustedchain.com/.  They will stamp any saying on your jewelry.
Swim necklace, need I say more! Purchased at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRunHome
This is another one I love. It is a mustard seed from Matthew 17:20. “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove from here to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” From http://www.etsy.com/shop/aperfectpeace. I think it was $12

Anyway, what collections do you have? Why are they special to you?  I know its just a material possession but if I lost my bird necklace I would be devastated.  I love it.

I HATE Athletic Wear

athletic wear- the haven for the skinny

Hello fashion world- I would just like to vent to you for 5 seconds.  In your eyes all women are exactly the same and need to look exactly the same.  (or if they’re different.  It is the same way of looking different).  Want some fashion advice? Check out this post.

I’ve seen the look of horror on your face at the  fashion shows when you meet a plus size women.  How can you possibly be expected to design for such an atrocious creature? On Project Runway the designers panic and run for the exits when given a ‘real woman’ challenge.  It makes me wonder what type of woman are they designing for- the fake woman?  They might as well be for how many women fit into their clothes.

In a great article in the Los Angeles Times Emili Vesilind calls plus size women “Fashion’s invisible woman”.   Despite 14 being the AVERAGE size for women in America most designers would rather cater to their ideal woman, deluding themselves that they are somehow encouraging those fatties to get in line. Here is a quote:

“ When Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld, who spent most of his adult life battling a serious weight problem, created a capsule collection for H&M in 2004, the newly svelte designer was incensed that the retailer manufactured the collection in larger sizes. “What I designed was fashion for slender and slim people,” he said. And in an interview in the March issue of Harper’s Bazaar, he sniffed, “The body has to be impeccable . . . if it’s not, buy small sizes and less food.”

Another ‘fashion editor’ from Australia criticized the use of plus size models because they encouraged such laziness and disgusting body-types.

“While these women might make us feel better about our bulging butts and guts, the truth is, few women over a size 14 are in a healthy weight range.
And many need encouragement to lose weight instead of being told to feel good about being overweight.
Seeing big girls might give us healthier self-esteem, but it might not encourage us to lead healthier lives.”

Did it ever cross your mind that maybe these women need both- they need to feel good about their body and be encouraged?  Why are the two mutually exclusive?  It truly makes me crazy.
Some may counter that the market speaks and plus size doesn’t sell.  I find that hard to believe when again it is the AVERAGE size of women in America.  Surely there is a market to tap into there but the fashion industry doesn’t want to pander to fatties?  How do you explain the huge success of plus size chains such as Lane Bryant and Torrid?  I think the fashion industry wants to promote a particular type of woman and those that don’t fit can be left with their mumu’s and fast food at home.
Even if you buy their idiotic views- here’s the rub- try to find athletic gear in plus sizes and you will have a tough road on your hand.  Think you can roll into Big 5, Sports Authority, Cabellas and find plus size active wear- not so much.  What about target or Lane Bryant- nope.  It is practically impossible to find active wear for plus size women.
The only way is to turn to the internet and even that, on occasion, fails me.  In order to find something as simple as a sports bra I had to dig through websites until finally I found one on Old Navy.com.  Sometimes I am forced to buy men’s active wear (not with teh sports bra, of course!) but that is usually very unsatisfying and like a cloud around my body.
After much digging I finally found a plus size active wear bathing suit on Lands End and even though it was expensive I bought it because there was no other choice.  Socks, running shirts, yoga pants, workout tanks, anything ‘gym chic’, are all nearly impossible to find in plus size.
Which leads me to my next question- how do you, fashion designer, expect us to ‘lead healthier lives’ if nobody sells clothing to help us do just that?  Are we supposed to stay in hiding until we magically come out of the cocoon of fatness?  Then you will adorn us with your precious athletic wear.  It really makes me crazy!
triathlon wetsuits are my enemy. I hate them!
What has gotten me particularly fumed about this topic is I have been working for weeks trying to swim in the 1 mile open water race at Deer Creek Reservoir.  My swim times are good, my training has been intense but you know what could stop me from swimming- clothing!  That’s right stupid clothing.  Normally beginning swimmers use a triathlon wetsuit which is slick on the outside and breaths more than a traditional wetsuit.  The water is pretty cold and having a wetsuit helps your legs from freezing up and your arms from feeling heavy.
Unfortunately the stupid wetsuit manufacturers only make a woman’s size up to 160 lbs.  160 lbs!!  I still can’t believe that is their biggest.  It will probably take me 2-3 more years before I am close to 160 lbs.  I have to admit the whole incident was very discouraging.  Its one thing to not be able to do something because you are out of shape, but I’m in shape.  I can do the stupid race!  To be stopped by something as dumb as clothing makes me nuts.  I cried and cried when I first found out.
Even the man’s size was too small (particularly for my bust, there’s a shocker!).  So, my friends I am going to attempt to swim the race without a wetsuit.  We will see how my trial run goes tomorrow.  Its going to be hard but all I can do is my best.  I can’t control the stupid wetsuit situation but I can give it my all in that cold water.
Hear is my plea- PLEASE put out some athletic wear that we can actually use to help us lose the weight you find so unsettling.  PLEASE  put out socks that fit, running shirts, sports bras that support, high performance products and even a few cute gym outfits.  I know I would buy it- what about all of you? For goodness sakes I was willing to spend over $300 for my wetsuit but no.  Nobody makes one even close to what I need.  Nobody wants my money!
Maybe if enough of us could show interest we could do some type of petition to the major athletic wear labels?  It would certainly be nice to be able to compete when we’ve actually done the training and not be thwarted due to improper clothes!  So please make a comment, send this post to friends, twitter it and let’s see if we can get something done.
I will let you know how my trial run goes tomorrow. Let’s hope I can brave the cold!
Here are 2 sites that are pretty good:



Skinny, Skinny, Skinny

Today I have a bit of an upset stomach so I am not going to the gym but never fear I will be right back at it tomorrow!  The last 2 weeks have been some of my most consistent and hard working during this fitness quest.   It really helps to have a goal and getting ready for this open water swim is a huge challenge.  At least I read yesterday that the water is warmer than usual-70 degrees, oh la la!

Currently I am working on the most boring project for work.  It involves looking at a spreadsheet with 27,000 items and identifying what branch the item belongs to.  Sometimes this requires my looking up the monument or national park to see what area it is in.  (On the plus side, I am now somewhat of an expert on the national parks, even obscure ones!).

To keep from falling asleep I have a movie on as background noise.  Today I’m watching Brigadoon with Gene Kelly and and Cyd Cherise.  Its not the greatest musical but I enjoy it. It has beautiful dancing and a few of the songs are catchy.

The thing that shocked me while watching is how insanely skinny Cherise is.  In fact, all the women are uber-skinny- made more so by restrictive corsets. It reminds me of the famous scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlet is upset over not being able to corset her waist at 18 inches after having a baby!

so skinny!

Does anyone else think she looks ridiculous with such a tiny waist and large bust?  Maybe that seems like the cliched response of a fat girl but honestly! The only thing I can think in her defense is that she was a ballet dancer and they are always very skinny.

The sad part is we still set such insane standards.  For instance, the other day I was watching Big Bang Theory and Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is upset when Sheldon guesses that she weighs 120 lbs.  Let’s say she is 5 ft 7, 120 would still be well under the body mass index produced by the insurance industry.

By all competent medical diagnosis 120 should be considered skinny, even underweight, but on the show she is horrified to be labeled as a fat 120. I even read some articles that listed Kaley as a ‘curvy’ member of Hollywood young.  Please!  If she is curvy than no wonder so many people are turning to eating disorders. What do we all have to be below 100 lbs to be considered skinny? Crazy!

To see the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ2pG8fNH9s.  They won’t let me embed it.

Hollywood doesn't think this is skinny

The problem with words like ‘skinny’ is they have no real diagnostic value.  They can mean whatever you want and so using such a vague term as a goal for change is dangerous.  If skinny is your goal it will literally never be good enough.  You will never be skinny enough.

I would love to say that the images and skinny messaging promoted by Hollywood doesn’t affect me- that I am strong and know it is garbage.  I do see the flaws but I am not invulnerable to the feelings of longing for a body I will never have and an image that will never happen.  I don’t know anybody that is perfectly confident all the time and doesn’t on occasion wish for a seemingly better, more attractive body.  When those moments come, the images sent out by Hollywood can do damage to my self-esteem and confidence.  I am not immune to such feelings. Are you? Luckily, I am wise enough and strong enough to pick myself up and start telling myself the right kind of messages.

Perhaps I am thinking of this topic because I have been exercising like a maniac and yet my bi-weekly weigh-in yesterday I had lost no weight.  Obviously this was a disappointment but I know that I have become healthier in the last 20 days.  My swim times are faster, my weight repetitions and amounts are more, and I feel enthusiastic and happy.   The skinniness may not come along but I have to remember that being skinny is a mirage of a goal.  Being healthy is real.  Finishing my race on the 13th is a real goal, and I know I can do it- skinny or not!

What do you think about the illusion of getting skinny?  What are your goals for fitness and weight loss and how does the images presented by Hollywood or fashion impact you?