chin up…

So I had to have a little surgery a week or so ago, and not exactly being the world’s most patient person you can imagine how the swelling in my midsection has been effecting my state of mind. And let’s not forget that my typical level of activity has been greatly reduced to nothing beyond the standard walk. And not my standard walk, the standard, standard walk. So, okay, we shall walk… and walk and walk and walk every single day for the next four weeks until not only is the pre-op state of my waistline restored, but also to keep it that way until I am given the go-ahead to jump right back into my normal workout routine.

And even though the whole recovery thing is giving me a bit of the blahs, I still go out, chin up, and smile at every single person I walk by. For one thing, it’s just the polite thing to do – I’m exercising, you’re exercising… nothing wrong with a little camaraderie, right?! And maybe it’s because I am moving a little slower than my norm, but I just seem to be passing by the same people over and over on any given outing. One of those people being this one particular girl today that has lingered in my head – a bit heavier, wearing her biggest, baggiest tee out there walking, exercising, making her effort just like the rest of us, and we must have passed each other at least 3 times. But each time we passed and I smiled, she looked down or looked away and it kind of broke my heart a little. Because it reminded me of that skinny girl/fat girl stereotyping that big and small girls alike are so sadly famous for – and all I could imagine was her thinking, “oh, she must be laughing at me because she’s so little – look at the poor fat girl”, yet what I was really thinking was, “you go girl – way to take charge – keep up the good work”.

Maybe I will pass her again tomorrow or the next day and maybe if I keep smiling at her she will finally, chin up, look back at me, and smile too. That is my hope, not because I need to be acknowledged, but because she does, so maybe if I keep acknowledging her she will find that within her self.

And then I came home and remembered seeing this posted this morning (thanks Lisa) and it inspired me to share this story with the likes of you :).

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This to me is beautiful. This to me IS standard. This body I would actually kill for!!! And it is the body I do kill myself for. Sure I wanna be fit girl – but I wanna be THAT fit girl! Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren, Jane Russell, the great Mae West!! Those!! Those women were fierce – those are the women I aspire to be – not the Kate Moss’ and such of the world.

I despise our societies standards as to what is fit and what is fierce and what is beautiful – if you have read my blog, then you know this is nothing new coming from me. I have curves – they may be petite – but they are without a doubt there!! And as we all know, I LOVE my curves – adore them actually!! I embrace  them; I showcase them always for the world to see!!

(Yeah, yeah, I know, I will always tell you, just 5 more pounds, but honestly, it’s just how I keep my mind focused on that state of constant forward progress – that “I’m good, but I can always be better” mentality. That and I’m just a bit nuts that way – there are worse mindsets to have, you know, haha!!)

So to that girl I passed this morning, I say to you what one of my dearest friends just said to me the other day, “what’s that saying… ‘chin up, chest out’…”?!

Yep… something like that… ;) xoxo

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times gone by…

“Times gone by”. From what I have seen in my searches, that is considered a pretty good translation for our stroke of midnight New Year’s traditional song “Auld Lang Syne”. And as I sit here at my blog reflecting, and noting that I have shamefully neglected it as apparent by the October 14, 2013 date of my last post… well… times gone by for sure!!

A bit of a blur this past year of 2013. I kept thinking about writing but the thoughts and ideas just weren’t coming – maybe life just seemed to keep getting in the way. Funny how that happens – things happen, life happens and then poof – next thing you know you don’t feel like talking about what you are wearing, hahaha – although I do choose to believe I am deeper than that. Don’t get me wrong – my outward appearance is still of the utmost importance to me: we must project fabulous – that philosophy has not changed, I guess I just ran out of ways to express it.

I do find myself thinking about who I was this time last year and trying to see if I even remember her. Have I really changed that much in the past 12 months?? Another year older; I’d like to think wiser… maybe a gray hair or two that were not so notable one measly little year ago… :) as if anyone will ever see?! I mean, please!! maybe some things about me have changed by my vanity remains fully intact!!  I do have an image to uphold – I am a Spokesmodel afterall, hahaha. Extremely surreal, by the way, to imagine my face being used to sell makeup but I am grateful to Charity by Dawn Lilly for the opportunity to do so. I don’t think this concept will ever fully set in… although my catalog cover should be revealed in early 2014 so keep your eyes peeled… but that is not the reason I feel I’ve changed, although it did change my already meticulous attention to detail when applying my makeup on the off-chance someone ever says to me, “wow!! I love your makeup!! – then I am fully prepared to represent.

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And p.s., just a little FYI for you, as an aside, if you do ever decide you love my makeup – just go to my link: sbell.mycharitymakeup.com and order what you like – happy to make any and all recommendations if you need – if I have learned nothing else this past year I have made it my business to learn more and more about makeup. :)

But back to the topic at hand… I believe I was talking about change – that and the complete and utter neglect of my blog…

So – okay – it’s the end of the year – make yourself write something, Sara; force yourself – there is nothing on TV, go be productive – back on the horse and all that jazz. And maybe, if I think I have changed so much, then maybe this is the ideal time to reinvent the blog a bit. I mean let’s face it – for as much as I dislike it, I am always willing to acknowledge it, and one does cease to grow if it not for change, so for the sake of my personal growth I will go forth and embrace it.  But everything is still better in stilettos – that is one thing that will never change. My serial shopping days on the other hand – definitely far less frequent, so that blog concept is in need of a revisit for sure… so, hmmm… then I started thinking about an interview I did a while back where I indicated that “Everything is Better in Stilettos” is really more about an attitude  – my attitude – than my actual shoe collection (as impressive as some may consider it). So maybe that would be an ideal direction moving forward, what do you think??

So with that being said, and as we prepare to embark on the eve of a new year, I will leave you with this thought…

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What else is a girl to do, right?! ;)

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2014 and a huge thank you for all the love and support you have shown me this past year. Hugs and kisses to all!!

xoxo

Charity in review…

I have always been in love with makeup – since forever quite honestly – it’s just always been one of my “things”, like my super sexy high heels and pretty clothes and my long dangly earrings – you know, our “things”. And I never really thought too much of it…

But then one day, you wake up and discover that you and your face have been selected to represent a brand and wow!, you go from not really thinking too much of it, to thinking about it all575242_457586980982466_1663847196_n the time! That brand, as you all know by now, that bestowed upon me this such honor, is Charity by Dawn Lilly. And as part of my role in representing the brand, I wear the makeup. And in wearing the makeup, I figured it was about time I shared my thoughts about it with the likes of you.

So what’s currently residing in my makeup bag, you ask…

I always start my face with our Concealer Trio ($26) - it’s simply magic. By blending the various shades around and under my eyes, my dark circles are gone! And it’s a super light formula so it blends together seamlessly. I also use it as a primer on my lids in preparation for color.

Next up, our Liquid Face Foundation ($21). I have to say, it is hands down the greatest foundation I have ever worn. The coverage is so amazingly light, yet it is so amazingly flawless in evening out your skin tone – my face radiates just the most beautiful glow every day!

Now, any good makeup girl knows to set her foundation with powder and I’m a total fan of ours. I prefer our Loose Powder BT-NCdnCUAIanXy($18) – it’s more sheer than a dual foundation and I like that kind of subtlety – and in one shade lighter than my foundation it is a perfect blend for a soft natural looking finish.

On to the eyes… and where I get into trouble because we have like a million different colors and I have but a few. So if you are anything like me, best bet is to stock up on our 5-Well Palettes ($38) Why? Well 5 colors in one of course! and already matched together so not only is it more bang for your buck, it’s completely without the guesswork. However, if you prefer to mix and match on your own our standard single shadows run $14 each. I personally love to mix and match – as one should never be afraid to play – like in this quick “selfie snap” I’m mixing grays from my ‘Diamonds Darling’ 5-well with my single ‘Complicated’ forest green. I think they came together quite well. (And yes, I agree… I totally need a photographer to just follow me around all day and take my picture – so much easier don’t you think?! and honestly, just how seriously awesome would that be?! ;))

The shadow pigments are super strong, making the colors just beautiful, and they wear like iron all day long.

Next on my hit list – our new fall colors – want, want, want and want!! totally gorg!! Don’t you think?!

1174862_518326424908521_2084771271_nAfter shadow, I line my eyes with our Black Tie Cream Gel Liner ($15). It has a rather soft texture which seems to make it easier to work with than my previous brand, and it creates a much more even line. I always take it a second step, blending in and over my liner with a darker crease shadow color – it softens any harshness to the line and creates a much bolder look than just liner alone.

If gel is just too much trouble for you, we of course offer our Standard Pencil Liners ($13) – I do also have one of these – in a beautiful teal – I use it to offset the black liner with an added pop of color on the inside of my lower lid.

Our Lashware Mascara ($15) is a bit lighter than I am used to so its take a few extra hits to lengthen to my liking. But it goes on evenly without clump and it survives bootcamp like a champ so it’s a keeper.

Our Standard Blusher ($18) comes in matte and pearlized formulas – I’m partial to our shimmery plum, 328, Grapenut, for that addition of rosiness to my cheeks.

Our Lipsticks ($14): LOVE. I’ve at long last found my perfect plum in our Xtreme 380C. We offer metallics, high glosses, pearls and smooth creamy satins. The lasting power is long and it feels like you’re wearing nothing more than lip balm all day. Our Lip Gloss ($14) I also love. It is just the right amount of tacky without being sticky (nothing worse than sticky lip gloss). And, oh, by the way… lipstick is making a huge comeback right now in overtaking gloss for the “top lip color enhancement of choice” award – just in case you didn’t know…

But makeup, upon makeup, upon makeup aside, the greatest thing about our brand is that we give $1 from every product sold to Charity (hence the name), so we truly are making the world a little more beautiful. And quite frankly, for the quality of the makeup, the prices (as I have so kindly cited for you throughout) seriously can not be beat!

So visit our website, Charity by Dawn Lilly – I’m guessing your head will spin from all the color selections, and we are always adding new products and colors for you to choose from! And best part, since I am able to also serve as a Sales Consultant for my brand, simply send me your wishlist and I will take care of the rest for you – in the name of sharing the beauty of course ;) xoxo   #teamcharitymakeup

always worth a look…

We all know I am a huge advocate of the “brand names for less” concept and I have an entire closet full of clothing to prove it. And who is your original go-to “brand names for less” store – Marshalls of course!! And my, how far they have come over the years with their selection. At least in most sizes anyway – mine, not so much, but I keep trying because… well… that’s just what I do. :)

So on any given day I can walk into a Marshalls and take a quick survey of the 4-5 items available in my size versus the hundreds in every other size, with the exception of shoes of course – shoes I can always find. (ahem, Marshalls peeps, are you hearing my subtle pleas for a more expansive selection?!) . But because every once in a while, if the shopping gods are smiling upon me I find that special something, I just keep on believing that Marshalls is always worth a look.

My most recent examples: A Nine West Color Block Maxi Dress – $98.00 at Macys  – Mine for $39.99 at Marshalls.

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Them and then me – with the exception of that chunky orange heel – I went sleek and sexy in my Bebe sandals. (which p.s. I got for a last pair steal at Off Broadway for $35 so my entire outfit is still less than Macys original price).

How about my Free People Lace and Plaid Shirt – $108 at Nordstrom - $39.99 at Marshalls.

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I haven’t worn it yet but I promise when I do it will be paired with a dark wash skinny and my Aldo Shoes taupe over-the-knee boots that the Twitter folks @ALDO_Shoes helped me secure for a ridiculous little price (thanks guys!!)

And I can’t forget my French Connection sweater dress that I got last year for which I paid $29.99. Anything French Connection typically retails in the $90-plus range so although I can not prove to you at this moment I got a “brand for less” you are just going to have to trust me on this one.

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Paired with a gray tight and a black Aldo Shoes suede boot versus a bare leg and a stiletto. It keeps the sexy from being too over-the-top therefore completely anywhere appropriate.

French Connection by the way, is the ideal brand for disproving the whole horizontal stripe theory. Always flattering, always curve complimenting – one of my favorite brands. Notice the thick, almost band-like stripe at the waist emphasizing the smallest part of me, thus accentuating my curves just beautifully?! It’s all about finding the right stripe, so never completely rule them out without at least trying them on – you’re undressed anyways – what’s the difference, right?!

So, granted, any Marshalls experience can be easily simplified to a basic “hit or miss” but I have always and will continue to always take a look. For some reason I just keep relating it all to that near final scene in the original Miracle on 34th Street when Suzie’s special gift that Mr. Kringle promised her wasn’t under the tree. I just keep hearing Natalie Wood saying, “you mean like, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again??” after her mother (played by Maureen O’Hara) told her, “just because things don’t turn out the way you want them to the first time you’ve still got to believe in people…”

So I will continue to believe there is something special waiting for me inside my local Marshalls… “I believe, I believe… it’s silly but I believe…” LOL!! Seriously, love that movie!! (the original only!! and in black and white – must be in black and white – anything less is unacceptable to me).

xoxo

the rule book…

For 10 years I have been faithfully watching Clinton Kelly and Stacy London on TLC’s What Not to Wear. What I didn’t know instinctively; I’ve learned from them. And now 10 years of saving the world from some really bad fashion is coming to an end, as all good things eventually do, but I can not help but be deeply saddened by it all…

I will miss their wisdom and wit and the transformations of the countless women who have been saved by their mad, mad skills. So in an effort to keep their legend alive (and to prove to you I do know a little about what I preach) I am sharing with your their Rule Book – their top 10 style rules.

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#10: Keep “The Girls” locked and loaded. Bra fittings are essential.

#9: Dress your age, don’t try to be younger than your actual age. And dressing too old is just as bad as dressing too young. When you dress old, you are telling the world that you give up. (and Do Not take hand-me-downs from your mother).

#8: Dress the body you have, not the body you want. Your clothes have to fit. Some clothes are not flattering, and most of the time people are not wearing the right size.

#7: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.

#6: Repeat after them and me: Color, Texture, Pattern, and Shine all create visual interest.

#5: You don’t have to show a lot of skin to look sexy.

#4: Jeans are supposed to make your butt look good.

#3: “Mom” does not equal frump.

#2: You can show off your personality without looking crazy.

#1: Stacy and Clinton are always right! (stubborn, stubborn people out there in such bad fashion – drop the attitude and comply – the rest of us are most thankful to them for making the world a more aesthetically pleasing place – and they just gave you $5000 worth of beautiful clothes – kindly show a little gratitude)

If you missed the Friday, August 30th episode, the great people at WNTW have graciously shared these rules on the TLC website and I am hopeful they will leave them there long-term: http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/what-not-to-wear/videos/the-rule-book-videos.htm

So thank you to Stacy and Clinton for their 10 years of service and for continually reminding us all of what I have always believed – your clothes should bring you joy and make you feel beautiful. (And let’s not forget to credit Ted and Carmindy, who have proven over and over that the right hair style, color and makeup, too, makes all the difference).

And I guess I should say a quick thanks to the T(he)L(earning)C(hannel) for allowing them to do their thing 10 years strong. Although I have to admit I am a bit baffled by the fact that these are the same powers-that-be that continue to subject us to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo… but that’s a whole other discussion for a whole nother day…

xoxo

your style defined…

As softly as my pastels, melons and kelly greens and I have flitted through the Spring and Summer; I will be kicking off Fall as the season of the statement and I’ll be making mine in blacks and whites, and shades of grays, and primary colors like reds and blues. (note the use of the term “kicking off” as I would be fashionably remiss if I opted to spend the entire Fall season neglecting the gorgeous array of jewel tone colors on display – I am a true purple girl at heart you know.)

I seem to have lost a bit of my feel for the girly-girl phase I was rolling through and find myself moving toward a more sexy-edgy look. Yes, my gravitation is always towards what I commonly refer to as “sexy chic” so this turnabout is of no surprise, yet I’m feeling more balanced with the whole thing – a more age-appropriate sophistication, if you will.

What can I say, my style changes as quickly as my moods – dare to keep up if you can!! :) But wait, actually, that statement is not completely true. My style (as I define the word) is consistent and has been since the day we met – your style is your style, and mine is unmistakably mine. “YOUR STYLE” is your manner of doing something. And I am always doing my “something” in the same way, I just add a twist here or a bling there or a color, texture or pattern of choice to it based on the seasons latest trends. But look after look after look I am nothing if not consistently me.

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So let’s talk about these two words for a minute, shall we? because I think the fashion industry tends to confuse us with the way they use these words. A “trend” is something that is considered hip or popular at a certain point in time. “Style”, which, yes, is often used to refer to a state of being popular, is better defined to me, as a distinctive manner of expression – like I said earlier, the way in which something is said or done or ‘expressed’. I believe a trend to be something more like this Fall’s schoolgirl plaid for example, or camouflage everything, or those furry shoes I keep seeing pictures of (seriously – whose idea was this?!). Whereas, style I think, is more of your go-to skinny jean, but in one of this Fall’s gorgeous jewel tone “trend” colors.

Am I making any sense??

I personally am not a big believer in trends per se –  – to me following a trend makes me just that, following. Granted my closet is reflective of a contribution to this trend or that, but most of my pieces including every one showcased in my particular outfit of the day will serve my forever style well and will be hanging around in my closet for quite some time – either together or as separates – I do not fear them “going out of style” as they say. And what does that really mean anyways? “going out of style” I’ve looked – I can’t find you a valid definition that makes me happy and it honestly just makes no sense to me. How can your style “go out of style” unless you cease to exist? I think the saying should be “going out of trend” because it is the trends followers follow that fade fast – style: style is eternal.

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way your live.” ~Gianni Versace

So all I can say, my beautiful fashionistas, is to beware those pitfall TRENDS of Fall (I mentioned a few above – hint, hint). Instead, relish in all of the gorgeous colors, the clean whites, and the florals and patterns. You know, the ones you should be busy incorporating into your STYLE (hint, hint ;)) xoxo

aaww, she’s blushing…

I am typically not an impulse shopper and I must say that I am getting much better at the whole think-through: Do I love it? Do I need it? Do I have anything to go with it? Is it worth it? and I admit, this has helped me to walk away from quite a bit of bleh in search of bravo. But every once in a while you try something on that forces you to throw caution to the wind, and make a run for the nearest register, leaving the logistics to be figured out later.

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That was me and these DL1961 jeans I found at Bloomingdales. An eggplant denim with a metallic silver foil filigree print marked down from $178 to $48 – need I say more?!

But then I got them home, put them on the next morning and discovered that other than a gray silk tank from Banana Republic hanging in my closet, which was at least serving the purpose, my fabulous find was falling a tad flat.

Not to worry, we know I don’t discourage that easily, I simply need to locate a complimenting neutral, something simple yet with it’s own tiny bit of something special.

And I did. (as if you’d ever doubt me). A pretty little top in my new forever favorite neutral – blush. Adore!! A more sophisticated and much softer side of pink. And understated enough in its hue to serve the same purpose as a natural or a beige – hence, making it a neutral. And with just a touch of shimmer in this nylon fabric mixed with a knit racerback – my perfect pairing for my pants.

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And why do I believe this to be the perfect pairing you might ask? I love the blousy effect of the draped cowlneck with a slim-fitted skinny. I think its important to offset a slim pant with a looser fitting top (and visa versa) But not too loose that it looks too big, and definitely nothing too shapeless or boxy. Remember, it’s all about being fitted and flattered. Notice how the shirt cuts and angles – how the knit in the back Vs downward into a gathered, contour fit at the hips to really slim the waistline and showcase the curves. I am all about embracing my curves don’t you know – I mean, isn’t that why I have them in the first place?

Add a blush gladiator sandal and a big silver bangle and Wala!, I’ve managed to turn those “buy now, coordinate later” pants into a complete look.

And if you don’t mind me saying so, a rather fabulously fashionable, well-fitted and flattering look at that!

Good to see me walking the walk and all… ;) xoxo

so what am I wearing? DL1961 denim from Bloomingdales (on sale for $48). Gianni Bini top (on sale for $28) and sandals (an outrageous find at an additional 30% off an already 60% markdown equaling $17) from Dillards. Aldo Shoes bangle $8.

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