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Posted on Dec 26, 2012 in Fashion | 12 comments

Holiday Fashion

So you guys know how I’m a little crazy about Christmas, right?

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Okay, good. I won’t need to go into an explanation about how I bought an entire outfit solely for the purpose of wearing it to the 10 PM Christmas Eve service. Which basically meant I wore it for these pictures, and then an hour of sitting in a pew singing carols. After which, I promptly shed it and put on my Christmas jammies. Hahahahahahaaaa.

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Yes, yes, I know how silly it is to buy a brand new dress (and shoes) for something like that, but it just seemed so lame not to have something new and pretty to wear as I rang in Christmas! And hey, at least I get a fashion post out of it, eh? Also, it should be known that I bargained-shopped for these beauties. The dress is from the Anne Taylor LOFT outlet and was over 50% off, and the shoes were on sale at DSW. Bangarang.

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So, there you have it: my Christmas Eve outfit 2012. Santa, perhaps you should have brought me a few more holiday events instead of my beautiful new ice cream maker, seeing as how I really need some more reasons to wear this gorgeous dress before the year is through. Red can totally be a New Year’s color too, right? Right???

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See? Crazy person. *bows*

I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful holiday! Full Christmas recap to come soon.

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Peace, love, and schnauzers,
Gretchen

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Posted on Dec 17, 2012 in Dear Diary, Fashion, Food | 8 comments

POPs

Before I get into my little weekend recap post, I just wanted to take a second to pay homage to the tragedy that occurred last week in Newtown, CT. I would feel like an a-hole if I said absolutely nothing, but, of course, there’s really nothing I can say. It’s a horrific tragedy, and I just… there are simply no words. Anyway, I’m not trying to be a downer, I just think that a tragedy of this magnitude deserves acknowledgement and, of course, remembrance. Not for the monster that did this, but to commemorate and celebrate the lives that were taken.

Okay. So. Now to pluck myself out of the doldrums again, very awkwardly and non sequitur…ly. Eeeeyeah.

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Thanks to my book release as well as the birth of one pretty neat older brother, this weekend was full of little celebrations. Friday night, my boyfriend Sean took me on a date to my beloved Sweetwater Tavern to celebrate the book, then Saturday we had a birthday potluck in honor of Ben’s 29th birthday at the house! Sadly, I took absolutely zero photos of either event. Womp womp fail.

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What I *did* take photos of was Sunday’s excursion. Also, many vain outfit shots. Heh. My whole family gathered together to go see the National Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday POPs concert at the Kennedy Center! Naturally, I found this the perfect excuse to bust out one of my Oh-em-gee-this-dress-is-only-$9-but-when-am-I-ever-going-to-wear-it purchases from when I decimated the Leesburg Outlets with my friend Holly back in October.

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I love a good reason to get dressed up! We had dinner at the Terrace Restaurant in the Kennedy Center before the show, which was delicious and extravagant.

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I started with a salad that had bibb lettuce, blue cheese, candied cashews, apples, and an apple vinaigrette (and helped myself to not a small amount of Sean’s seafood chowder, hahaha). I got the mussels & frites for my entree, which was actually listed as an appetizer so I got an OBSCENE amount of mussels. Not that I’m complaining. But yeah, literally, I had a cauldron full of mussels. Om nom nom.

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Then it was time for the show! The concert itself was wonderful. It was a lot more jazzy than I expected — the NSO collaborated with an a cappella quartet called “New York Voices” and the result was a lot of complex harmonies and jazz interpretations of our favorite traditional holiday tunes.

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Okay, fine, it was mostly Christmas tunes (they even had Santa come out at the end, haha), but they DID play one non-Christmas song (O, Chanukah) so I guess that’s what makes it a “Holiday” concert, hahaha. Either way, it was super enjoyable, very impressive, and really got my holiday gears cranking (’cause… you know… I have such a difficult time getting excited for Christmas… lololol). GUYS. THIS IS THE LAST WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS WEEK. AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

What’s your favorite thing about the holiday season? You know, pre-actual Christmas, what’s your favorite thing about this Decemberiffic time? The decorations, the baked goods constantly available, the tacky sweater parties…?

PS: Quick note. Just in case any of you are looking for me on Twitter moving forward, I’ve updated my handle to @gretchenpowell!

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Posted on Dec 7, 2012 in Fashion | 16 comments

Fashion Friday: Snow Queen

In yet another misleading blog title, this is a makeup post hiding under the guise of Fashion Friday. Because, even though I still haven’t really figured out if makeup falls under the full “fashion” headline, “Makeup Friday” just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. So, here we are. 🙂

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I actually had a pretty interesting (and hilarious) conversation with Sean the other night regarding winter makeup looks. It went something like this:

Me: I’m thinking about doing a winter makeup post on Friday. So basically I’m thinking it’ll just be like, glitter.
Sean: Makeup provides neither warmth nor coolness, so why is winter makeup different from summer makeup? Do you wear depressing makeup in the winter because winter is depressing?
Me: You are such a boy.
Sean: I just don’t understand women.

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Now, Sean’s unfortunate lack of knowledge regarding the intimate workings of makeup aside, he does make an interesting point. I mean, there’s no physical reason to sport different makeup looks just because of the weather. But I do it anyway, because I doubt I’m the only person who feels like there’s a shift in the air (and not just the temperature) when a new season rolls around. So over the next couple of months, as the weather continually gets colder and colder, expect to see more makeup looks on here that are winter appropro. Which, as stated above, essentially just means we’ll be diving further and further into the land of shimmer and glitter.

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Digression: I got contact lenses in the 6th grade, which means I was 10 years old (I skipped 2nd grade, so I’ve always been young for my year in school). I had to sit through this little class thing at the optometrist’s office where they instruct you on what not to do with your contacts. One of their rules was to be very careful when applying eye makeup (a rule that I obviously disregard wholeheartedly these days, hahaha). Well, little 10-year-old me had only one question throughout the entire training session (which, it should be said, was a group of people, all the rest of whom were adults). That question: Can I still wear eye glitter? I then proceeded to pull out my grape-scented purple glitter rollerball and show it to the technician. I am really serious about glitter.

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Anyway, this look is actually not very glittertastic (somewhat ironically, given that ridiculous story I just told, hahaha). But, it is super WINTERtastic. I used to think that light, shimmery makeup was retired back in high school, along with the light lipstick + dark lipliner trend (I’m looking at you, Jen Powell Robinson!), lest it conjure unfortunately dated looks like this one:

Yes, that is Katherine Heigl in the 1996 Disney Channel Original Movie, Wish Upon a Star, which was like Freaky Friday except totally awesomer. ANYWAY. As long as you’re not too heavy-handed, I’ve recently come to reappreciate the light, shimmery makeup look. And if you can look past the terrible lighting and bags under my eyes in these pics, since I took them at like, 11 PM last night, I think you might possibly be able to see why. It gives me this whole ethereal, winter-faerie-like look that I can totally vibe on.

And when paired with a subtle, shimmery lip, pink cheeks, and an icy blue eyeliner? It’s like a winter wonderland on your face, in a completely wearable, everyday way.

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Eyeshadow(s): Sephora Collection Colorful Mono Eyeshadow in Aspen Summit (23), all the way from my lash line to my brow bone. Then Urban Decay eyeshadow in Toasted along the outer half of my lid and in the crease (courtesy of my Naked palette, but they’re also sold individually).

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Electric, on both top and bottom lids.

Mascara: CoverGirl Lash Blast Luxe (it has glitter IN THE MASCARA!) in Black Platinum.

Brow Pencil: Too Faced Brownies

Lipgloss: I got it for free when I was trying out BeautyMint (a subscription skincare thing), but any light-colored, shimmery gloss would do.

Blush and highlighter: NARS blush in Orgasm and Smashbox Halo Highlighting Wand in Gold, as always.

Are you drawn to different makeup looks in the winter?

PS: Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for two cans of Blue Diamond Almonds’ exclusive seasonal flavors!

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Posted on Nov 16, 2012 in Fashion | 11 comments

Fashion Friday: Au Naturale

Do makeup posts really belong under the Fashion Friday header? Ah well, I’m still rolling with it. We can revise later. So today, I am doing something marginally daring inspiring awkward. As someone who constantly proclaims how much she loves to put stuff all over her face, I am about to show you my makeup-less mug. I know.

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BAM! This is me, completely fresh-faced, just after washing my makeup off.

Now, why am I doing this? Well, I’m really not someone who feels I NEED to wear makeup. I’m actually (shockingly?) quite happy with the face God gave me, and I know how lucky I am to have relatively clear skin and all that jazz. I don’t feel hideous when I leave the house without makeup, I just feel kind of… naked. So really, when it comes to wearing daily makeup, it’s a preference thing for me.

Which is why, on those days when I don’t feel like doing anything bright or bold or colorful or crazy (and I don’t want to spend a lot of TIME on my makeup), I go for a very simplistic, natural look. I know it sounds redundant, but I want to look like I’m not really wearing makeup, while still wearing makeup. I want the extra confidence that comes from knowing my skin’s a little more even, my eyelashes are a little fuller, and I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with that.

Enter, my natural look kit:

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My ever-lovin’ Urban Decay Naked Palette (fitting, no?), pressed powder (picture shows Makeup Forever), a brow pencil (picture shows Too Faced), mascara, and lip balm. Easy as (pumpkin/pecan/apple) pie. (Can you tell my mind is on Thanksgiving much?)

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To me, natural means no shine, no shimmer, no glitter. First, I did a once-over with the pressed powder (no blush, since my face’s natural redness shines through powder). Then, I used the two matte colors in the palette, Naked (a neutral beige) and Buck (a medium brown). Naked went over my entire eyelid, and then I shaded some Buck into the crease/outer corner. After that, I fill in my brows a bit, then add mascara and some chapstick, and done!

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Pre-makeup on the left, post-makeup on the right:

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Voila! It doesn’t make a TREMENDOUS difference, but it’s enough to help even things out, boost my confidence, and make me feel just a little more put together. The brow shading is admittedly a new thing for me. I’ve been blessed with relatively full (and dark) eyebrows naturally, but I recently started filling them in just slightly more and I really dig the look. It gives me this whole Camilla Bell/Brooke Shields vibe that I dig. Eyebrows. So hot right now. Eyebrows.

Anyway, so that’s it! Done in 5 minutes or less. Like I said, easy.

What does your “natural” makeup routine consist of? Or do you really prefer just to not bother with makeup at all if you’re going to be wearing so little?

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Posted on Nov 9, 2012 in Fashion | 32 comments

Fashion Friday: I Hate Pants

I am most decidedly not a lover of pants. In fact, a lot of the time, I hate them. I hate them good.

See, pants get all up in your business. They bunch, and they creep up, and they cut across your stomach pooch. Really, they’re just cruel. Because when you find that one elusive pair of pants, that holy grail of trousers, the ones that make your ass look downright smackable? Of course, they’re too big in the waist. Or too short. Or too tight. There are just too many measurements, too many opportunities for something to look wrong, for them not to fit. And let me tell you, as a professional loser of weight, making sure things fit is really important. For, like, self-esteem or something.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have my fair share of jeans, skinny and bootlegged and colorful. I have them, and I wear them, but it’s always with the slightest tinge of regret. Because if I had my druthers, I would wear dresses 100% of the time. See, dresses I get. Dresses fit, even if you’re in between sizes. Dresses can skim over your hips and accentuate your waist. Dresses flatter, feel flirty and feminine and… whoa, that’s a lot of F’s. Where was I?

Oh yes, dresses. They are my fashion loves. The ultimate clothing for the lazy gal: top and bottom in one. But, alas, until I move to paradise, I am not in a position to be able to go bare-legged all 12 months of the year. I must make concessions.

Fortunately, those concessions really ain’t so bad because of a little thing called… spandex. Yep, with this miracle of stretchy miracles, covering up my legs can be kind of fun! Which is why my winter wardrobe actually doesn’t differ all that much from my summer one. No matter what the season, it’s comprised of lots and lots of dresses, just paired with a cardigan and… tights.

YES, TIGHTS. No longer just for old ladies and cotillions, tights are the ish, my friends. They make dresses winter-wearable, they can make slightly-too-short things work appropriate, and as a bonus, they even often slim and smooth you down. Self-esteem, I’m sayin’! And tights’ cousin, leggings, are something I’m an equal fan of. I guess technically leggings are pants, but again, spandex. No zipper, no button, just streeeeetch. Alls I gotta do is pair ’em with a tunic or long sweater, and I’m good to go. Which is why when I saw a post opportunity through the Clever Girls Collective for No nonsense tights and leggings, I jumped right aboard that train.

No nonsense sent me one pair of their tights, and one pair of leggings, to try out and style in my normal fashion. Already an avid fan of both types of clothing (bahaha, how lame does that make me sound?), but always one to stray from anything boring (I literally have, like, 6 pairs of black tights — leftovers from my school uniform days, hahaha), I was excited to see that the samples they sent me were really fun. You doubt me? Hey, check ’em out for yourself!

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I got sent a pair of dark purple patterned tights, and a pair of red CORDUROY leggings. Woot! All my leggings until now have just been black ankle-length ones ($6 at Target, what up!), save for one pair of long purple ones from Old Navy that I have literally worn into the ground. No, seriously. There’s a giant hole at the bottom of one leg, cause I always leave ’em looped around my heel. Oops. I guess you guys can be the judge of whether I “styled” them well, eh? (Please ignore the fact that my hair is a not-so-hot mess. It was wiiiiindy today!)

Tights, you’re up!

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The middle shot is what I like to call my “mail-order catalog” look, hahahaha.

Wrap Dress: Old Navy, Tank: Loft, Shoes: Cole Haan (from DSW)

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Did I have a little too much fun with that pumpkin? Nahhhhhh.

Lace tank: Old Navy, Sweater: H&M, Shoes: Cole Haan (from DSW)

I’m always quite honest about the products that I receive to review, but I really don’t have any complaints! The leggings are ridiculously comfortable, and they’re really warm, too. They do have some funny creases in the corduroy, but I’m sure those will go away with washing. The tights seem like they’re high quality, and the control top is smoothing but not spanx-like. The first outfit is actually what I wore to work (explains the wrinkles, haha), and I got a few compliments on the tights specifically!

My understanding of No nonsense’s distribution, based on their product locator, is that they are available in pharmacies and grocery stores (at least in my area). I will admit that normally, I probably wouldn’t buy them if I just saw them hanging in CVS, because it seems sketch and that’s not where I go to buy not-pants. That said, I now know better, and will definitely be keeping an eye out! (And I just realized they also have an online store. Whoo!)

Are you a leggings and/or tights kind of gal? I used to be vehemently opposed to tights, because they’re a pain in the butt to put on. But I’ve come to realize that some things are just worth the struggle. And I’ve always been pro-leggings (for once, the Leggings Are Not Pants! argument actually works in my favor… because I hate pants. I don’t know if I’ll ever be okay with jeggings though.

Find your pair of affordable No nonsense tights and leggings here. I was sponsored by No nonsense for this opportunity. All opinions are my own.

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