Beauty & style

Beauty and style tips, tricks, and products with a vintage twist.

Summer wardrobe staple

Psst…

H&M has really cute tube tops on sale 2 for $10. Perfect with a pencil skirt, circle skirt, or your favorite jeans and some cute shoes.

They have a built-in shelf bra, which is probably enough for small-busted ladies. For the more amply endowed, it’s a safety layer for when your strapless bra slides down, so you’re a bit less visibly nipply.

Super versatile. And for $5? I will not feel guilty when I spill something on this vast landscape of whiteness.

Super versatile. And for $5? I will not feel guilty when I spill something on this vast landscape of whiteness.

Great retro look without the vintage price tag. Get on it.

Unexcused absence

Yeah, I’ve been slacking.

Not really.

I’ve been busy. Working, playing roller derby for a while, nursing a broken ankle, starting a new blog dedicated to my pagan journey… all kinds of random things that were not blogging here.

And now, I’m having a meltdown over public speaking.

In a few weeks, I’m speaking at a conference in Vegas. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that I hate public speaking. A while ago I decided that this would be the year I pushed myself to do some things that I don’t love in an effort to grow/build character/that sort of thing. Ok. Fine. Public speaking. I’ve got this.

Except… I broke my ankle. Which doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with the matter, but hear me out.

peacock dress

I did get this lovely dress from Heart of Haute, and I do have flats that will work with it.

I have amassed a wardrobe that helps me feel confident and professional and completely me. It’s part of my armor when I’m on the road. Fun dresses. Classic pencil skirts with pretty blouses and awesome heels. Funky vintage bags.

Wait.

Awesome heels and a fractured ankle do not go together. And I HATE flat shoes. Especially with pencil skirts. Ugh. So, now I am freaking out over what to wear at this thing. Never mind the need for layers, because conferences are notorious for unpredictable temperatures – when a room fills up with people, it gets warm, when they file out at the end of the session, you freeze. And it’s Vegas, so I will be walking all over the place, which the ankle is going to LOVE.

Cue the quest for something retro-flavored, modern marketing professional, and not hideous with flats. I found navy blue linen-y pants. And shoes I don’t completely hate. And I have a few blouses that work with the pants so I can come up with a kind of forties nautical thing. Now I’m in search of that elusive top layer.

I have seven days.

Game on.

Eye shadow adventures, round 1

I got great feedback yesterday from some lovely ladies on how to achieve the eye looks I’m after. Thanks to Lisa for sharing a link to Makeup Geek… I found her Retro Inspired Look tutorial really helpful.

My friend Carole, a puppeteer (and wardrobe and makeup wonder), pointed me in the direction of the right brushes. I found a set at Target that’s conveniently labeled so I don’t have to figure out what each one is for on my own.

And here’s my first pass at eye shadow with multiple shades:

 

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Eye shadow evolution

So, I may have mentioned this before, but I am severely lacking in some of the key skills required for pin-up perfection. Most notably, I suck at hair. In addition, my eye makeup application borders on remedial.

To counteract my hairstyling ineptitude, I stick with a bob and try different variations with every haircut. Easy.

The eye makeup is another matter. My technique has not evolved much since high school, when I’d swipe a dark color eye shadow across my lid, smudge too much eyeliner under my lashes, swipe on some mascara and go. While I’ve learned to use a little more restraint with the liner and occasionally go for the waterline instead of below the lower lashes, I haven’t really progressed. No sophisticated, contoured, come-hither smoky eyes for me.

I’ve made a few haphazard attempts to try something different in the past, mostly with eye shadow remnants from ancient sets. I never felt like it looked right, so I gave up and went back to my old ways, even as I acknowledged that I didn’t have the right tools or makeup colors to make myself look the way I wanted to. A friend and his lady came up to visit over the weekend and I noticed her eye makeup. It was exactly what I want to be able to do… subtle use of different colors. I told myself I’d have to try again.

And then, last night, I found this:

Nude eyeshadow palette

The inspiration.

All the right colors. Cheap, so if I get frustrated and give up after a week, I’m not out $50 for one of the crazy Urban Decay palettes I look at every time I’m in Sephora. And best of all…

It has instructions on the back for numbskulls like me.

I'm pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’m pretty good at following instructions. Sometimes.

I’ll post photos of various attempts to follow instructions in the next few days. I have a master’s degree. How hard can this be?

Anchors aweigh!

I don’t typically do outfit posts, but this skirt from eshakti is too fun not to share. I wore this yesterday–it was terribly windy, and the lighting is too bright, as I took photos early in the morning before I sat at my desk and wrinkled the skirt. Ah, well. Lessons learned for future photo shoots.

My new skirt from eshakti.

My new skirt from eshakti.

This is the fourth item I’ve purchased from eshakti, and I have to say, the more I buy from them, the more I like them. I love the customization options. In this skirt, for example, I removed the pockets, as I’m already wide at the hips and tend to catch pockets on the handle to the screen door as I’m running in and out of the house. I’ve also been impressed with the quality and attention to detail in their clothes. Both the dresses I’ve bought have lingerie fasteners to keep bra straps in place, which I wouldn’t expect for that price. I’ll highlight those dresses in future outfit posts.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have very little in the way of actual vintage clothing, for a variety of reasons. I tend to buy modern clothes with a retro vibe and accompany them with vintage accessories. This outfit is a pretty good example of that.

Outfit details:
Shrug: Ann Taylor, gift.
Cowl neck top: J.C. Penney
Skirt: eshakti
Handbag: vintage Evans, from Treasures Antiques
Shoes: Audrey Brooke, DSW
Necklace (which you can’t really see): gift from Tim, featuring a 50 yen piece from our trip to Japan.

 

Dual shoe funeral

Last week, two of my favorite pairs of shoes succumbed to wear and tear, beyond repair.

Two beautiful pairs of round-toed pumps.

Two beautiful pairs of round-toed pumps.

The gray shoes have been my go-to shoes for the last few years… travel, tradeshows, quick trips to the store… more interesting than basic black, but just as versatile. And so comfortable! But alas… This:

The back of the heel has split.

The back of the heel has split.

Also, the elastic in the heel has let go, so they don't stay on.

Also, the elastic in the heel has let go, so they don’t stay on.

I probably would have let the split at the back seam go, if I could actually keep the shoe on my foot while walking. But it’s reached the point where I’m endangering myself if I continue to wear these beloved babies.

The other pair, cute little polka dot pumps with cherry red heels, only cost $20, so I had limited expectations for their longevity. They’ve lasted about 3 years, so I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth. But again, they no longer stay on my feet.

The side seams have split on both shoes.

The side seams have split on both shoes.

You know what that means. TIME FOR SHOE SHOPPING!!!

Tim keeps teasing me that since I’ll be working at home, I can go barefoot all day and no one will know. I’m not going to an office daily, so I won’t need shoes.

Blasphemy.

Lock and key necklace

I made this necklace.

I made this necklace.

I love old locks and keys… I’ve got random keys to god knows what tucked away in drawers in my office. I keep meaning to do something cool with them. But I haven’t.

But when my mom was up a few weekends ago, we went to the craft store to pick up a frame, and then Mom needed a chain for a pendant, and I found myself perusing the steampunk DIY jewelery section. Where these keys and the lock-plates were on sale. I also found the chain in a nice matching metal. So my mother, who has the utmost faith that I can do things I know NOTHING about, bought them for me.

My engineer husband had pliers and the few other things I needed to assemble this necklace. I kept moving things around and changing the length/spacing on things to get it to fall right, but I’m pleased with the result. For under an hour of my time and less than $10, I think it came out well!