Hairstyles for Thin Hair: the French Braid Updo

I get really frustrated when a lot of the cute hairstyle ideas on Pinterest just do not work on my thin hair. My hair is long, naturally straight and thicker at the roots but super thin at the ends – meaning a lot of the top knots and braids will not work without a hell of a lot of teasing. So I thought I’d start a series featuring hairstyles for thin hair. Up first, the French Braid Updo, a summer favorite of mine when I want to look cute despite the temperature being 90. This style can be dressed up or down – I love pairing it with a simple t-shirt.

This look will also work on girls with thicker hair – actually, it will probably look better – but girls with thin hair will look super cute too!

  1. Hairstyles for Thin Hair: the French Braid UpdoStart with French braids. I like mine a little tighter at the bottom, but if yours are messy, that’s ok too.
  2. Grab one braid, and wrap it over the other.
  3. Fold the braid in half, and tuck the end under the higher part of the braid with a bobby pin.
  4. Grab the other braid and do the same thing: pull it over the first braid.
  5. Tuck the bottom half of the second braid under the top half.
  6. Now look how cute you are! Strike an adorable pose!

Pay no attention to my …erm, chore clothes. I literally decided to do this blog post on a whim while surfing the net in between loads of laundry (as you do).

Counting Calories and Getting Healthy

I was running late for work last week doing my usual “I don’t know what to wear today!” dance in my closet when I remembered a pair of pants I had hanging up in my laundry room. I ran downstairs, frantically seeing that I had exactly 10 minutes to dash out the door. I grabbed the pants and pulled them on – only to find out they were too tight.

It’s been a reoccurring theme for me this spring, and I’ve had enough. It’s time for me to get back on the healthy eating train.

I’ve still been going to BarreAmped class at least once a week and now that the weather is finally better, I’ve been walking more, but it’s really true – you can’t exercise your way out of a bad diet. At least I can’t.

BarreAmped has been a big part of my journey to health.

I’ve been thinking more about being healthy versus being happy with myself, especially after reading BBF Sarah’s fabulous blog post on this topic. But I think I do need to take better care of myself. So as of last Friday, I’m officially limiting what I’m eating. While I’ve done Weight Watchers in the past (and had success with it), I decided to just count calories right now. I’m using MyFitnessPal to do that, and so far I really like it.

And I’m actually trying to cook more, as much as it might suck cooking for one. One of my favorite foodie websites is Skinnytaste – diet or no, it’s been one of my favorite sources of recipes for years now, and I am so excited for her recipe book coming out soon! Her Green Monster Smoothie is my go-to breakfast or after-lunch snack – I am obsessed! I’m also trying to eat more veggies – this was last night’s dinner.

Yummy green beans and onions

As I look forward to becoming more healthy with my eating habits, one of the best ways to ensure success is to identify my weak spots. I don’t drink soda or eat very much red meat, but I am a huge late-night snacker, and I crave sugar after dinner. Finding healthy workarounds (like hard-boiled eggs or mango sorbet) is going to be key for me. I also think it’s SO much easier to eat better when it’s nice out – the food is fresher, and I’m more likely to be outside than laying on my couch, dreaming of nachos.

The only reason I’m writing this post is to hold myself accountable to all of you. If you have been down this road before and have tips for me, I’d love to hear them!

A Review of the Naked2 Palette from Urban Decay

Naked2 from Urban Decay

I splurged over Christmas break on the makeup palette I had been wanting for a long time – Naked2 from Urban Decay. Part of their incredibly popular Naked line, this palette features neutral taupe, gold and black in a variety of shades. Some are shiny, while others are matte, and mixed together, the possibilities are truly endless.

Naked2 from Urban Decay

At $54, this is not a cheap makeup palette. That’s why I did my research before selecting the Naked2. While I loved the blues in the original Naked palette and the rose golds in Naked3, I felt the cool neutrals in Naked2 would suit my skin tone and blue eyes better.

I love this palette. The shades vary between matte and more shiny colors, but they can all be mixed together to make so many looks. I love using the lighter shades along my eyebrows and the darker ones on the crease right below my brow bone. I tried doing some close-up pics showing the looks I had made with this palette, but the pics didn’t turn out. I have been wearing colors from the Naked2 palette almost every day though, including in several past outfit photos.

Naked2 from Urban Decay

The only downside (besides the price) is the size of this palette – it’s quite big, and I can’t imagine it would travel well if you were pressed for space.

If the price and size are too much for you, the Naked Basics palette is a great option (and is almost half the price). I absolutely recommend this palette, especially if you don’t want to own a bunch of eyeshadows. This is a great way to get a ton of looks out of one product.

This palette was bought by me. It was not a gift from Urban Decay, and my opinions are my own.


Outfit of the Day: It’s All About the Hat

A fascinator is always a good idea, especially with a fun spring dress

A fascinator is always a good idea, especially with a fun spring dress

Hat from Von Maur (thanks Sarah!) • Ann Taylor dress • J. Crew cardigan • LOFT shoes Stella & Dot Isla drop earrings

I have decided I’m going to bring hats back.

All I hear from my (fellow American) friends is how much we wish we wore hats. Weddings and parties would just be so much better with some hats, wouldn’t they? This proves once again that the Brits are almost always right (minus the whole football/soccer thing, and also I could not drive on the other side of the road). Seriously though, I think hats are my new obsession. They’re just so much fun – and isn’t that what fashion should be about?

A fascinator is always a good idea, especially with a fun spring dress

Say hi to my gorgeous cousin, Joanne – her mom Rose took these photos! Thanks Rose!

Outfit of the Day: I Finally Got a Tulle Skirt!

A fancy blouse and a tulle skirt make a perfect work look.

J. Crew top • Tulle skirt c/o eShakti • Target pumps

And I am IN LOVE with it! Yes, perhaps I was the most dressed up person in the office that year month day, and yes, it was a particularly windy day to wear a giant skirt and I only barely avoided several Marilyn Monroe moments, but it was WORTH IT. Many of you will know I’ve been searching for a perfect tulle skirt for a while – and yes, you can make tulle work in the corporate world. I specifically chose black for that reason – I wanted a tulle skirt that would still look professional, but allow me to let my personality shine. While I still want an ivory tulle skirt, black works for more occasions. I can’t wait to dress this one up for a party!

Also, it has pockets. A tulle skirt with POCKETS, people.

Did I mention I was in love?

A fancy blouse and a tulle skirt make a perfect work look.

This skirt was compliments of eShakti, but my opinions about it remain 100% my own. You can get 10% off your purchase from eShakti – just use the coupon code ‘smtowes.’ This promotion is valid thru May 9, 2014.


outfit of the day: floral jeans again

A cozy sweater with floral jeans

A cozy sweater with floral jeans
Gap waffle-stitch sweater • Ann Taylor floral jeans • Target wedges • J. Crew necklace

Sorry for the rather longer-than-I-meant-it-to-be pause on the blog! I am back and ready for more spring outfits. What I am apparently not ready for is heels. I spent all winter avoiding heels (there’s just something about the extreme cold combined with the extra effort of wearing heels that I cannot get past in the morning), and when I popped these wedges on and started walking around in them, my lower back immediately began to hurt. I felt extremely ridiculous and spent the rest of the day alternatively hobbling and standing up as straight as possible. My bad posture is getting to me.

And I realize that sweater weather might maybe please be over soon, but if you’re still in the market for a cozy piece, I cannot recommend this sweater enough. I waited until it went on sale and got another one in dark gray. I love it. Cozy sweaters for the win.

A cozy sweater with floral jeans

Hair Tutorial: Barely-There Curls

When I’ve curled my hair lately, I’ve done more relaxed, barely-there curls. I love this look because it’s so easy and quick. Seriously, all you need is less than five minutes and a curling iron, and you have an easy hairstyle. Even better, I can usually get these curls to last two days with a little dry shampoo.

Hope you like this tutorial – let me know what you think!

Linking up with Fizz & Frosting!

Inspired by the Ballet

 Pieces inspired by the balletModcloth Airport Greeting CardiganToo Faced The Secret to No Makeup MakeupJosie Maran Rosey Mist rose waterkate spade new york skinny mini rose gold bow earringsNARS lipstick in “Roman Holiday”J. Crew stretch suiting teeEssie nail polish in “fiji”Land’s End Medium zip top tote bagRepetto The Cendrillon ballet flatsJ. Crew sunburst skirt Alexis Bittar Miss Havisham rose gold pendant necklace

I have wanted to be a ballerina all my life.

I love everything about ballet – the shoes, the costumes (ESPECIALLY the tutus!), the graceful dance moves. I hate it that no studio in my hometown offers adult ballet lessons, because I am about five seconds away from buying shoes and a leotard right now. Random fact about me: I’m double-jointed in my ankles, so I’ve always had a really open turnout in second position, even if I don’t have the balance to go with it. :) This clearly means I’d make an amazing ballerina, no?

Since I will probably never be the dancer of my dreams, I can at least shop for pieces inspired by the ballet. Thought I realize most of this list were more inspired by ballet pink than the actual ballet. It’s all related to me.

Outfit of the Day: I Thought By Wearing a Flower Dress it Would Make Spring Happen

A summer floral dress works in the winter with a blazer and tights

A summer floral dress works in the winter with a blazer and tights
Talbots dress, blazer and belt • Target heels

It pained me to put on tights last week. We’ve had snippets of warm weather. My tulips and daffodils are peaking above the ground, and it’s supposed to snow tonight. The day after I wore this outfit, I was in capris with bare ankles. This week it’s going to be in the 30s. If spring in the Midwest doesn’t make you crazy, you can survive anything.

I may have to wear tights for another week, but at least I can wear cute dresses with them.

My face in these pictures are brought to you by the bright sun in my eyes.

A summer floral dress works in the winter with a blazer and tights

Linking up with Fizz & Frosting!

Stitchfix Box #6

It’s Stitchfix time again! There’s nothing like getting home from a long day at work and having a box of surprise clothes picked out just for you waiting at the door. A quick word on Stitchfix: it’s a wonderful personal stylist service that’s all done online. Once you sign up, you’ll fill out a style survey and schedule a delivery. Your box will cost $20, but you can put that money toward any item you keep – and if you keep all five pieces Stitchfix sends you, you get 25% off everything! I received a bunch of bright colors and comfy pieces this time around – here’s what was in my Stitchfix box.

41Hawthorn Rowson Colorblock striped sweater, via Stitchfix

41Hawthorn Rowson colorblock striped sweater, $58 (returned)

Loved the neon yellow and navy, but the sweater was a teensy bit too big. Some horizontal stripes also make my assets extra asset-y, which was not what I was going for with this sweater.

Papermoon Norris Abstract Houndstooth Sleeveless Blouse, via Stitchfix

Papermoon Norris abstract houndstooth sleeveless blouse, $48 (returned)

I really, really wanted to like this blouse, especially since the pattern is so different – I don’t have anything like it! Sadly, it was way too flowy, and had a weird cut around the neckline.

Closeup of the pattern – which I still love. Sadness.

Papermoon Norris Abstract Houndstooth Sleeveless Blouse, via Stitchfix

Evolution by Cyrus Jazzy French Terry dress, via Stitchfix

Evolution by Cyrus Jazzy french terry mesh dress, $78 (returned)

I honestly hated everything about this dress, from the cut to the fabric to the colors (like them separately but not together).

Echo Calistoga dot print scarf, via Stitchfix

Echo Calistoga dot print scarf, $38 (returned)

I am such a sucker for anything pink, but I couldn’t justify almost $40 for a scarf. Still – that was a tough call that I will probably regret tomorrow.

Pomelo Corinna Striped Dolman top, via Stitchfix

Pomelo Corinna striped dolman top, $48 (kept!)

I have been all about drapey shirts that are a little longer this season, but strangely enough I don’t have a good dolman top! I envision wearing this with jeans on the weekend or adding a blazer and skinny black pants for work.

A drapey dolman top and skinny jeans make a cute weekend outfit.

Pomelo Corinna striped dolman top via StitchfixOld Navy sweetheart skinny jeans • J. Crew Cece shoes

Another successful fix! I can’t wait for my next Stitchfix package.

Please note that when you click on my link to Stitchfix, I may get a referral credit to use for a future order. I honestly do recommend Stitchfix to everyone to try, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing about it – thanks for your support!

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