Friday, December 28, 2012

LUSH Goodies For People With Nut or Corn Allergies! YAY!

Let me tell you a little story. When I first discovered LUSH back in the day I was in heaven! Here was a whole new line of wonderfully unique bath items I could have fun with! The soaps and the bath bombs were like showering with candy and I couldn't get enough! One of my favorite items my husband also took a liking to - Buffy (the Backside Slayer).  However, while I was getting "lush-ously" smooth skin due to Buffy, my husband was getting a horribly itchy back. Sure enough I looked up on the ingredients list and found the culprit: Almonds. Yes, he's allergic to them... along with all other sorts of nuts and corn. I couldn't even keep it in the shower because bits of Buffy would get everywhere, contaminating my husband's shower environment. No more Buffy for me. Boo!

Along with Buffy, we began to realize that he couldn't use other LUSH products as well. Many of their products contain nuts and/or corn. But I've recently gotten in touch with LUSH again after many year, and a lovely PR rep provided me with some recommendations. We've been playing around with them, seeing if my husband's skin would react - and I've been having a lot of LUSH fun again. Here's what we've found:

Porridge Soap - $6.95
My Experience - The awesomeness about this product comes from the fact that the exfoliation work is being done by oats, not almonds. It also smells heavenly (but I'm a sucker for yummy scents). To me it smells of milk, and oats, and honey - and I dig that.  After a few days of living in my bathroom my bathroom smells HEAVENLY!!! Porridge Soap doesn't lather much - but my skin feels so good after using it.  It's probably one of the most moisturizing bars I've tried in the shower. 

My Husband' Experience  - He approves. It didn't make him break out or get itchy. No allergy or hypersensitivity here!

Overall - I found a new must have! This is possibly the Buffy substitute I was looking for (though there really is no replacing Buffy).

Therapy Massage Bar - $10.59
My Experience - For me the lavender comes through loud and clear on this bar! It fits easily in my hand and quickly heats up to spread wonderful massage oil over the skin. A little goes a very long way. I was able to give my husband a nice back massage with it, using just a bit. The only thing I don't like about massage bars is that unlike oils in bottles I have to put it back in it's package. I may have to purchase a suitable "massage bar holder".

My Husband's Experience - Well I know he liked the massage.

Overall - I'd recommend this one for anyone who likes a relaxing lavender massage. The bar will probably be around for a long while.

Peace Massage Bar - $13.95
My Experience  - Ok, so I tried to use this one as a post-shower lotion. It didn't quite melt as quickly as Therapy. Once it does start to melt, then it's fine. I also don't like the smell very much. Not that it's obnoxious - the scent is slightly herbal. So if you like that you might like Peace.

My Husband's Experience - I'm making him stick with Therapy right now. So down the road maybe he'll  try it.

Overall - Up to you. For this I'd go based on choice and cost - it is over $3 more expensive, and I don't know that it's worth it. But go on the website, read the story and watch the video. It's nice.

Ultrabalm -$13.95
My Experience - This is billed as a body lotion on LUSH's site, but I have mainly been using it as a lip balm. I tried it on my body and it was a bit too greasy for that. It looks and feels almost identical to Vaseline (perhaps a slight tiny bit gritty in comparison). Think about what you use that for and you might have a petroleum jelly substitute in Ultrabalm if you're been looking for one. I think it is fantastic on knees, elbows, heels - anything that needs super moisture that won't be touching any cellphones, keyboards, or books any time soon. However be forewarned - it has sort of burn woodsy smell.

My Husband's Experience - I didn't let him at this one. Once I find a lip balm I like, it's mine.

Overall - Good product, but EXPENSIVE compared to similar products.

Anyway, I hope this information helps someone out there. The PR rep who gave me the "non-nut or corn" recommendations also recommended Dream Cream which I did not purchase due to price but feel free to look that up as well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Woo Hoo!!! Penhaligon's Sale is On!!!

When this perfumer has a sale, I am COMPELLED to tell you! The words bubble up from my soul - I love them that much. So if you've been in the mood for some English goodies, now is the time at up to 60%off.

Note: check your currency. Items may change depending on your choice.

Shop Penhaligon's Sale

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review - Sun Bum Flavored Lip Balm

Looking for something to remind you of warm weather right about now? Although I love winter, a hint of mango on my lips still makes me smile.

I recently received this pitch from Sun Bum to try their flavored lip balms and jumped on it. After all, winter often brings dryness and cracked lips.

Sun Bum SPF 30+ Flavored Lip Balms – $3.99 each at

Sun Bum, Cocoa Beach native sunscreen company with a heavy surf following, made so many smile with their original banana flavored SPF Lip Balm that they made more! The new flavors (Pink Guava, Mango, Coconut, Key Lime and Pomegranate) are guaranteed to delight lips – and protect them with Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Protection.

My Experience
This formula of lip balm glides on easily. They are creamy and the flavor is pretty intense for a lip balm. The size is your standard lip balm size.

Compared to some of the balms I've tried the price of $3.99 isn't horrible. Maybe I long for the days of flavored $0.99 lip balm but I still wish these were a bit cheaper. Especially since I KNOW the balm will end up in my pocket and accidentally get sent through the washer.

Bottom Line
If the other flavors are as awesome as the mango I'd suggest picking them up as a little protective treat!

Disclosure - The products in this review were provided by PR for the purpose of review. No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Press Release (and Commentary):: China Glaze Tranzitions Collection

Bottle pics and press releases are not my most favorite things to post, but this collection from China Glaze looks interesting. I came across the new Tranzitions collection when I was (stress-shopping) grabbing a few bottles online a couple of days ago. I almost purchased a couple bottles but then I thought it probably isn't really me here's why:

Anything that makes life easier to do nail art when I want to is ok in my opinion. But I'm a girl who likes fast drying top coats. This new product sounds like you paint it on your nails, then only use a top coat where you want the color to change. That means air drying at least a portion of the nail. I hate letting things air dry. Ugh. But I do think the concept is interesting.

You can find reviews already. Check out this review on  The PolishAholic. You can already find this collection online at Head2Toe and 8ty8beauty so no need to wait for January like the press release says!

Commence press release and bottle pics:
China Glaze® Introduces Tranzitions Color Changing Collection 

Los Angeles, CA – (December 2012): There’s nail art and then there’s China Glaze® nail couture. Reverse French manicure, half moons, ombre, basket weave, dots or racing stripes: nail designs are intricate and multi-colored. China Glaze® introduces a new way to get multi-color, unique nail art with fewer bottles of polish with the new color-changing Tranzitions collection!

China Glaze® Tranzitions’ revolutionary new nail lacquer reacts when a clear top coat is applied, changing the color from one shade to another for a stunning effect. Wear any of the six beautiful, color-shifting shades alone, or allow your creativity to run wild and create intricate nail designs by applying a top coat in specific places. Try different looks using nail art brushes, free-hand designs or nail guides. Because each shade changes color, you get two lacquers in one, creating an entirely new look with just one swipe.

The China Glaze® Tranzitions collection features six shades, though with the color transition, you get 12 unique shades including:
  • Split Perso-NAIL-ity – Dusty pink shifts to fuchsia
  • Duplicityy – Mint green shifts to vibrant teal
  • Modify Me – Periwinkle blue shifts to indigo blue
  • Altered Reality – Teal blue shifts to turquoise
  • Metallic Metamorphosis – Silvery grey shifts to bluish-charcoal grey
  • Shape Shifter – Smokey violet shifts to dark purple
How It Works:
Step 1: Apply a base coat.
Step 2: Apply two coats of China Glaze® Tranzitions shade of choice. Allow to completely dry.
Step 3: Lastly, apply one coat of clear top coat such as China Glaze® Fast Forward and watch the
color change right before your eyes.

The China Glaze® Tranzitions collection will be available in January 2013 at fine salons and beauty supply stores nationwide.

What do you think? I think I might go for Metallic Metamorphosis and Shape Shifter IF I choose to jump on board. But seriously, I'm not sold. What do you think? Have you tried them already/ Let me know below!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Miu Miu's Taunting Me Again

Another poke from the Miu Miu Gift Capsule Collection. I don't know if I can handle it if they do this a third time...

Miu Miu Clutch - $750
Seriously. I'm not used to seeing this stuff in my email. These little clutches are super cute, but I don't know that I like them $750 cute. How did I end up on this mailing list? Not complaining... just questioning. I'm not likely to own one of these, no matter how much vibrant colored leather studded awesomeness they send my way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Awesome Deals from Repêchage this Week

A VERY long time ago, I was getting ready to marry my husband. My skin was going through horrible changes as a result of having moved to Dayton, Ohio. I wasn't quite sure how to handle it so I started to get regular facials at a local salon. The products they used were Repechage products, and my skin really liked them! In fact, once I filled my bathroom arsenol with their product and began using them regularly my skin cleared up dramatically. On my wedding day I had the clearest skin I've ever had in my entire life! That statement is still true today - that day of my wedding WAS the best skin I've ever had. And I feel I owe that a lot to Repechage, particular Repechage's One Minute Mask. So when I was contacted by Repechage's PR person about some "pop up" sales that were happening this week I thought I'd share them with you. 

A Note: I don't know the sale prices on everything yet because each of these sails will be happening on a daily basis. You will have to check their site every day. I strongly recommend checking Friday, December 14th because my holy grail of masks is on sale on that day. 

The following information is from the Press Release I received.  

Hydra Dew® Illuminating Cream MaskMonday, December 10th: Repêchage Hydra Dew Illuminating Cream Mask (regularly $38, sale price for $23!): This glowy mask transforms dry skin into a smooth dewy complexion. The deep acting moisture formula, rich in Marine Moisture Factor from seaweed, also contains waterlily and the amino acid proline to help reduce redness and irritation. Natural light reflecting minerals make skin look beautiful under any light – It’s the perfect prep step before a holiday party! Skin becomes illuminated and virtually flawless.

Algo Mist® Hydrating Seaweed Facial SprayTuesday, December 11th: Repêchage Algo Mist (regularly $33.50, sale price $20!): A makeup artist and celebrity favorite,  this hydrating facial spray uses a unique combination of seaweed concentrate, Vitamin C and Gingko Biloba extract to help eliminate the appearance of fine lines due to dryness, air travel, sun or exposure to cold. Can also set makeup, refresh after a workout.
Hydra Dew® Gentle Cleansing MousseWednesday, December 12th: Repêchage Hydra Refine Cleansing Mousse (regularly $37, sale price available Wednesday!): This ultra mild, soap-free foaming cleanser lifts away makeup and daily debris without disturbing the skin’s natural protective barrier. Moisture-boosting seaweed, calming and soothing waterlily and willowherb, and naturally emollient sunflower will leave skin clean and smooth. Perfect for all skin types and for adding moisture during dry winter months!

Honey Body PolishThursday, December 13th: Repêchage Honey Body Polish (regularly $30, sale price available Thursday!): A holiday beauty sweet that’s good enough to eat! When applied on skin, honey promotes powerful healing while reducing inflammation and scarring. This body polish blends pure honey, almonds, and oatmeal to create a natural cleanser and exfoliator. Use it to soothe skin and replenish moisture from harsh weather, over-cleansing or travel. Or, have a DIY spa day and mix it with buttermilk for a luxe body treatment!

Hydra Refine® One-Minute Clarifying MaskFriday, December 14th: Repêchage Hydra Refine One-Minute Clarifying Mask (regularly $32, sale price available Friday!): This is for the girl who’s always on the go! The super-quick mask yields results in just 60 seconds, and contains special, natural skin brighteners to improve skin clarity and color. It deep cleans, absorbs oil without drying, and exfoliates with tiny spheres of rice bran wax and lactic acid. This fast acting triple treatment contains oil controlling seaweed, astringent lemongrass, fresh cooling cucumber, and a blemish fighting active ingredient from lily of the valley (Farnesol) to leave skin clean, clear, smooth and balanced.

  Remember, check daily to get an update on each sale price! Happy shopping!

Monday, December 10, 2012

And the winner of the Althea Harper Sittella Scarf is...

Well this shocked me...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terri is a friend of mine, and I am always shocked when random winner generators choose someone I know. I guess this means I'll have to find something else to buy her for Christmas.

Thank you to everyone who entered the drawing. I hope we get to do one of these again. Just in case you were still hoping to purchase from Althea Harper, you might want to try the code - there's a chance it'll still work.

Code: pidholiday
It should give you 20% off once you go through checkout in Paypal. You return to Althea Harper's site and there will be a place to enter the code.

Special thanks to Althea Harper for once again being a good friend to the Pretty in Dayton Blog and allowing this giveaway. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Review: Got Problems With Tangled Necklaces? "Necklace Saver" Has A Solution

Yeah I wish my jewelry collection was as nicely organized as those images on the right side of the above graphic!!! But unfortunately my accessory organization looks a bit more like the image below:

Yes, this is an old Philosophy gift set bag that I use to drag around necklaces, earrings, rings, hair clips, or whatever with me when I travel. Most of the time things get a bit tangled up  - it can be a nightmare sometimes. I had just gone through one of these horrible experiences, spending 15-20 minutes untangling a particularly nasty lot of necklaces, when I received a PR Inquiry as to whether or not I'd like to review Necklace Saver. Heck yes!!!

Once I received my Necklace Saver I realized that the idea was pretty simple: Put your necklace through the tube of fabric. I chose my Jewelmint Message In a Bottle necklace as a test run because it gets tangled in my bag quite often due to all the little charms on it. I first untangled the necklace, then unclasped one end and began feeding it through the tube. The process reminded me a lot of putting elastic into the waistband of a skirt but easier. I hadn't ironed the Necklace Saver before giving it a test run, but I suspect of the tube had been wrinkle free the process would have been even easier. In all, it took under a minute to get the necklace properly stowed into the Necklace Saver. After it's through, you re-hook the clasp then independently tied the ends of the Necklace Saver together.

Viola! Necklace saved!

The tube is large enough that you might be able to use this in a way as to save several necklaces with one tube, but you would risk tangles inside the tube. I may have to try this because the end result was very bulky in my opinion...

See what I mean? Yes, I just laid it on top but really, the rest of that bag isn't organized so why would I be any different with this? Yes, I could see it as the start to an organizational system, however. I wonder, though, if the fabric choice adds to the bulk.

Price: Necklace Saver retails for $8.95 at Bead City online. However, according to the website for Necklace Saver a portion of every sale goes to helping orphanages around the world (they mention two specific ones in Armenia, where the inventor Anna Kazanchyan is from originally). Personally, I think this is a little expensive for something I could probably make at home. It really is two rectangles of fabric sewn together so they don't fray and $9 could buy a lot of fabric to make a lot of these in a lot of different sizes!

Bottom Line
I really like the idea of this product, but it is more than I'd pay for something like this.  But overall, great idea!

Full Disclosure
Products in this review were provided by PR.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well this is a first... MiuMiu in MY inbox???

Got an interesting press release in my email box today.

Ok, so it SAID it was a press release, but really it came off as more of an ad. On the other hand, can't say I'm unhappy to see something with a MiuMiu return address attached at all. Because in all seriousness the words that came out of my mouth when I opened up the email were "I wish!!!"

Had to do some digging, but here is the link to the MiuMiu gifts collection to which the email was referring if you are interested. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Boutique Makeover and Holiday Suggestions From Penhaligon's

I tend to be a brand loyalist. I don't mind saying this - it's true.  I like to shop the same brands, and I tend not to switch things I use regularly. Therefore, I have no shame in saying that while I was recently shopping scents with my husband at Sephora, I said, "I want to purchase my list from Penhaligon's first, I think." There's a certain amount of trust (love) there and I feel "disloyal" sometimes when trying other things. There's a certain quality in Penhaligon's perfumes that I love - something distinctive in the scent.  But when I smell something I feel like I can say "Oh! That's a Penhaligon's scent!" Am I sophisticated enough to say what that quality is? Absolutely not. But you get the idea.

Anyway, I digress...
I received this lovely image today in my inbox from Penhaligon's PR announcing that they gave one of their stores an "Edwardian Makeover" recently. The picture was so cute I had to share:

Penhaligon's Regent Street Boutique Makeover "After" Photo.

The design was created by Christopher Jenner, according to the press release I received. The idea drew on inspiration from chesterfield sofas and Westminster Cathedral's ceiling roses. Personally, I took a look at it and thought "Oh my gosh it looks like their bottles!" And that was their intent as well. Just take a look at one of their most recent fragrances, Peoneve:

No, I've not tried this scent yet. And maybe I'm totally off, but color differentiation aside - I could definitely see a "Penhaligon's Bottle" influence. Look at the pattern in the ceiling. Also the light fixtures - similar shape. Awesome!

I still can't get over the wrapping on their giftsets this year:

Seriosuly, the packaging alone is awesome enough to have a look, particularly at the perfume minis in the Holiday sets. Ladies, your set boasts my favorite, Artemisia, as one of the five scents. And Gents, you get my guy pick of Sartorial as well as my husband's pick of Opus 1870. Well worth it!.

Check out Penhalogon's Holiday collection on their website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Althea Harper Code and Giveaway - Abundance of Generosity for Pretty in Dayton Readers!!!

Hey Pretty in Dayton readers!

Do I have a treat for you! Project Runway All-Star Althea Harper and I have been cooking this up for a good long while now and it's finally here just in time for your holiday shopping!

Althea Harper Discount Code and Chance to win a Sittella Scarf!!!
From the time this post goes live until midnight EST Next Sunday December 9th at 11:59 pm when you shop Althea Harper's Online Store you can get some special treats!!!
  • 20% off your entire purchase - now's the time to stock up on those super comfy Sittella dresses or maybe even get yourself the perfect holiday dress no one else around you will have!
  • A chance to win a FREE Sittella Scarf - A MUST HAVE staple in my collection, as you know. These scarves are SUPER soft and awesome when you need something easy to wear.
Sittella Scarf Giveaway - Purchase NOT required!
Here's how you take advantage of this:
  1. Select what you want to buy.
  2. Go to checkout (though Paypal).
  3. Return to Althea Harper's site - enter the code at final checkout time.
Want your code? Here it is: pidholiday
(You may use the codes as many times as you want during the valid time period).

Awesome, right?

GIVEAWAY - Sittella Scarf
Those of you who can't make an Althea Harper purchase at the moment or can't find what you're looking for, you still have a chance to win the Sittella Scarf! Just enter using the rafflecopter widget below!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The winner will be chosen at random and announced on December 10th. Once announced the winner will have 24 hours to get back to me.

Happy shopping, my friends!!! And good luck!

Friday, November 23, 2012

HUGE Beachbody Savings! P90X, TurboFire, 10 Minute Trainer and More!!! Check it out!

If you've been waiting to try one of the programs I've been talking about like TurboFire, then this is the time to do it! Beachbody is having a HUGE Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale! Want to know what's on sale? Well you came to the right place Check it out!
Click on the links to go right to each offer directly.  Obviously I LOVE TurboFire so I think that is BY FAR the best offer. Now is seriously the time to get it! And, if you don't have a Beachbody Coach already you'll get me as your coach!

Quantities are LIMITED so you'll want to take advantage of this fast. End of Monday the offers are gone regardless. Last time I saw a sale on TurbFire like this it sold out in minutes, FYI

Not sure what you want? You can always let me know and I'll help you out. Or just go to this page to browse all the offers

Shabby Apple's Black Friday Sale - 20% off!!!

Everyone's having a Black Friday sale. But I'm particularly tickled that THIS sale comes with free shipping on Polka dots!!! Code: 20POLKA

Plus if you shop Shabby Apple (affiliate link) through this site you'll help keep me clothed in awesome too.

Happy shopping!

Pretty in Dayton is a Shabby Apple affiliate.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Contest Alert - American Pi's Tour USA Pinterest Contest

Hey Readers!

I wanted to share with you a contest that is being run by the Pi Girls over at American Pi.  The awesomely lovely December Ann Brewster, a Pi Girl herself, contacted me and asked if I would share the news of this contest. This contest takes place largely on Pinterest, so for all of you out there who LOVE pinterest, this one might be fore you. It invovles you creating a board, learning about things that are made in America, pinning pinning pinning!!! And you could win a prize of $50 gift certificate.

American Pi's Tour America Pinterest Contest Rules According to Styrch
I found these a little difficult to understand so I'm going to try to break it into steps that made sense to me. You can read the original rules over on the Pi Girl Diaries.
  1. Create a board on Pinterest.
  2. Repin the American Pi Contest Graphic to that board!!!
  3. Pin something to your board from each of the 50 American States - These items must be PRODUCTS made in that state!!! Make sure your pins contain #TourUSA and #state (Ex:#OHIO) at the end of each pin.
  4. At least 3 of your pins must be from American Pi!!! - There are a huge amount of things on this site so you should be able to do this part pretty easily. I suggest starting here. You can also use items from The Pi Girl Diaries if you want.
  5. Follow American Pi Dayton on Pinterest
  6. Email your contact info and your finished boards to December Ann Brewster  (December.brewster at
Check out this example board for ideas!
This contest has been extended to end on November 26th, so you have a few more days to pin and have fun! I think this could be a highly educational and hopefully beneficial to you contest. After all, it's a great way to get gifting ideas for the holidays. Who knows, you could walk away $50 richer too!

Happy pinning!

Thus end this post. 

Pretty in Dayton is not affiliated with American Pi, or The Pi Girl Diaries, or Pinterest (other than being the user). This is NOT a Pretty in Dayton contest - Styrch just thinks December's a pretty cool chick..

Review!!! Althea Harper Spring 2013 Collection

Just when you thought you'd forgotten about the Skort...

Ronica Short - Althea Harper Spring 2013
Yes, this Thanksgiving I will be thankful for the Skort!!! I never thought I'd say that. But this is... pretty darn fun!

When I had the chance to talk to Althea Harper her Spring 2013 collection I specifically asked about this item. She said she always likes really short skirts but they are hard to sit in, so she put these in her spring line. I can't fault her for this because I think the throw-back to the skort was a good move for her spring line. She calls it a "short" in her lookbook, but what looks like a "skort" and acts like a "skort" and is constructed like a "skort"... you know? That's a skort! What do you think?

Ok, let's get on with the rest of the line now that I've gotten my two favorite out of the way, shall we?

Consistent Althea Themes
I've noticed several themes running through Althea's collections and  they continue to evolve. So I'd like to talk about them each if you'll let me indulge myself.

Theme 1: Mesh Cut Outs - This season Althea continues to play with the location of her mesh cut outs. She continues to stick with her side cut outs, but they are shaped differently, more interesting in my opinion. See the Fiona Dress in Sky Blue:

Fiona Dress
What's interesting to note here is that when I asked Althea what her personal favorite item was from her Spring 2013 collection, this was what she chose. I'm curious to see if that changes over time because Althea has a lot of fun items in this collection.

Theme 2: Non- Mesh Cut Outs - For the more daring, Althea remains consistent giving us diaphram positioned cut outs as she has in the past. Check out the Maeve Dress (regular length and Mini):

Maeve Dress
Theme 3:  Interesting Pants - And a funky pair of leggings! Here's the Love Pant (with the Kate Top, which I dig)

The Love Pant
The only thing I question is the print here. It sort of points to the crotch in the front then highlights saddle bags in the bag (if you have them, and the model doesn't). But regardless, I still think they'd be fun with many a long tunic! I'd love to see them in Lockness.

Theme 4: Super Cute Jackets

Charley Jacket, Nixon Jacket
Charley... now THAT is a hot blazer!
But check out the funky here...

Lola Jacket and Clair Skirt
The Lola Jacket has this interesting contrast zipper. I'm not digging the Bristol print but I like the overall design. On a side note, I like the drape of the skirt and would like to feel the fabric to make sure it doesn't fall over into "high school choir uniform" territoriy - but I have faith in Althea Harper's ability to choose nice fabrics.

Older Styles Getting Updated

I'm pretty sure Althea will disagree with me on the comparisons I'm making here, but regardless, the following items reminded me very much of items I saw from her previous collections, but with noticable updates.


Fonda  Dress - My new obsession!!!

The Fonda Dress!!! It reminds me of the magical dress I purchased from Althea's Fall/Winter 2010, but all grown up into something hotter and sexier, if that was even possible. Yes please! I'll take one, and the body to go with it of course!

The Jessica Dress (both in regular length and a mini) which reminds me very much of the Paranormal Dress of Spring 2012, only this time I think you can probably wear a bra with it (yay!).

Jessica Dress - I'm confused why the cream and the tan - so similar! Why not the green pistachio?

And the Miranda Dress which reminds me just a bit of the Campus Dress of Spring 2012.  My reasoning here is that it's similar to Jessica, but not as revealing in the back, just like Campus and Paranormal played off each other in Spring 2012.

Miranda Dress
What's actually REALLY cool about the Miranda Dress is that the slit is... get this... A ZIPPER!!! Yes, you can adjust it to show as much leg as you want!!! But I don't like the rounded boobs...

Personally, I dig this detail even more on the Monroe Dress which has, in my opinion, a more flattering neckline...

Monroe Dress - My other obsession
Seriously, this IS the hotness! The Monroe dress is slammin'! Granted the only big difference I see between this and the Jessica is that the Jessica has a belt-thing. Sad but true story - when Althea came over with her box full of goodies to my house, my friend Terri tried on this dress and DID NOT BUY IT!!! But she clung onto it all evening. Terri, girl... you need to know when NOT to let a good thing go.

Returning Favs

Printed Shirt Dresses/Tunics - We first started to see these last spring. I'm glad Althea has kept them around because I really wanted to pick one up. In fact I did - when she came to my house this past October for a trunk show I snatched one up! Anyway, they are back for spring this time the color pallet is more rich. The hi-lo hem trend also makes an appearance in Althea's line. Take a look:

The Elenore Dress

Elenore in gorgeous prints!

Our friend Ridley makes an appearance...
Ridley is pictures with Happiness Pant, Tina Skirt, Tina Skirt, and Michelle Pant (top left, then clockwise)
As does the Lillian Tunic.

Lillian Tunic
I have a new love of the Lillian Tunic. I purchased a sample recently (they do run big). Althea's in the process of getting buttons put on for me. But it's comfortable and awesome - and I feel like Steven Tyler when I'm wearing it. That's a good thing! I love feeling like a rockstar I love. On a side note, I'm REALLY digging the print on the left: Lockness. That is awesome!

What I'm Not Liking...
There's always something, right?

The Kim Dress

Maybe it's just the way the model fills this out, but I think it just looks sad. And this coming from a girl who LOVES zippers on everything. I'm not too fond of the rounded boobs here, though I'm sure they look great on a more busty person.  I'm also not too sure I like the length. But that's just me.

Ok, I've rambled. Ultimately, I like most of what's happening here for Spring 2013 from Althea Harper. I think that she's found some things that really work for her. Many of these styles are not exactly new to Althea's line, but look like updates to me. And that works! Lots of wearable items here.   Anything catch your eye?

You can shop Althea Harper from her online store. Or if you're lucky, a boutique near you!

Images provided by Althea Harper.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Skindinavia Finishing Spray Review and 20% Off Through Cybermonday

I've got something really cool to tell you about today!

I'm the first to admit that I understand primers and finishing sprays make a difference in makeup wear. But I'll also admit that I don't often use them because I don't often notice enough of a difference (the exception being eye shadow primer). Well, I found a winner: Skindinavia Finishing Spray.

My Experience with Skindinavia Finishing Spray
Normally if I don't wear anything but my foundation, after 8 hours of wear the only thing that is still on my face is my eye shadow (duh, that's what I'm usually priming). For my entire face the words "Primer" and "Finisher" don't really exist in my vocabulary. Yes, I've tried them, but they haven't, in the past, made much of a difference for me. That being said, when I was contacted for this review I thought I'd give the product a shot.

Skindinavia claims you can get up to 16 hours of wear. To be honest, I don't care whether or not I actually get 16 hours of wear out my makeup so long as I don't look like a zombie with skin falling off my face by the time I get home. In that regard, I'm easy (just being honest about my expectations).  The cool thing was that the PR contact I had told me that I could use the Finishing Spray as a primer as well as. Double duty! That's what I like. I hate having to worry about more than one product. I began spraying on a bit before my foundation, then spraying another layer on after my my face was entirely finished.  I found that at the end of the day (we're talking 7 am to 10 pm or 11 pm with a TurboKick class in between) my foundation looked practically untouched. Maybe it wasn't quite as fresh, but it was still there. I practically had to chisel it off my face.  THIS IS A GOOD THING!!! The product works. At least for me.  Better yet - it didn't seem to break me out! 

So... Original vs. No More Shine? Bah... doesn't matter
I have combination skin. Actually my skin is temperamental combination skin. I do not notice much of a difference if I use Original Skindinavia Finishing Spray vs. the No More Shine. Maybe a marginal difference depending on if I'm really scrutinizing my skin. On a daily basis I reach for the Original far more often than the No More Shine.

I received a 2 oz sample of both sprays. 2 oz is more than enough - a little goes a long way. That bottle is priced at $19.  If you purchase these two as a set they are $35 (for the 2 oz bottles)

Bottom Line
I freaking LOVE this stuff! I would suggest trying the Original before the No More Shine.

Skindinavia Cyber Monday Sale
Now through Cybermonday, Skindinavia is having a 20% off sale (plus free shipping and a free mini). For US orders use code CYBER20. For International orders use code INT20.
Also check out Skindinavia's Holiday Hero Pack.

Full Disclosure
The products in this review were provided by PR for the purpose of review only. I am not affiliated with the company nor do I sell their products.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Limited Time Offer: TurboFire On Sale for $53!!!

TurboFire is my FAVORITE cardio program is going on sale today at 12:00 PM EST for only $53!!! It's a steal. It really is! I love this program and was inspired to go on to teach my own Turbo Kick classes as a result. It's a great way to get in shape, stay in shape, and just have fun working out! I hope that you'll snatch it up because it is SO WORTH IT!!!

Use this link to Purchase TurboFire from me!

Read my review of TurboFire.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Road Trip! Models in Chicago

"You'll hear 101 'Nos' before you start hearing 'yeses'." - Caressa Brown, on Mentoring Models

Dayton Fashion Week Models (and parents) with me in Chicago

On October 25th myself and Caressa Brown took a group of Dayton Fashion Week models (and a couple of parents) to Chicago. Our purpose: to get these young men and women signed to an Agency!
I consider it my good deed for the month - the trip from Dayton to Chicago was over 10 hours of driving alone, not to mention the walking (and running) in the rain. But let's be honest - this is also the only time this 5'4" overweight woman in her thirties is going to get to see the inside of a modeling agency, right? Of course I was going to take a day off work and do this!

Let me tell you a bit about the three agencies we visited and my impressions of each:

Prior to this trip, I knew BMG mostly in conjunction with the entertainment industry - which I guess isn't so off from model-land. When we arrived we were under the assumption that Open Casting was from 2 - 4 pm. The reality was that they opened their doors at 4 pm. If you're not there, at that time, you don't get seen because they closed them immediately. At 2 pm we were turned away from BMG and proceeded to Ford, then on to Factor/Chosen. At 4:20 pm I was running in the rain (literally) with models who didn't get held for a call-back at Chosen and headed toward BMG after calling and BEGGING them to see us since we had driven so far. I'm happy to say that this agency DID look at photos of the models who made the trek with me. And at least one beautiful model (Brooke Selanders) was told to send more images.

Brooke Selanders got a request for more images at BMG
However, our models did not directly interact with anyone by the receptionist. That was a disappointment, as was the general decor of the agency's interior itself. After visiting Ford and Factor/Chosen, it became apparent to me how much the way the agency appears on the outside is just as important to the models looking to be signed as the way the models look to the person who is working for the agency. That is to say "if you don't look the part, we're going to be a little skeptical." BMG needs a "remodel". But we are going to be ever grateful for the generosity in bending the rules for a group of hopeful models from Dayton, Ohio!

Olivia Nichols was too short by 1/2 inch at Ford.

Notorious for being large and selective, we learned that unless you are 5'8" you are too short for Ford. Fractions of an inch matter here more than your portfolio or anything else you bring. In fact, the lovely lady from Ford didn't crack open many portfolios - she chose to take her own digital images. There was no discrimination either. If you were 5'8", then the pretty lady in charge took your picture. Some models had more pictures taken than others, which might be the only hint as to their eligibility.  But what I did learn: High heels are not a must (and actually are a distraction) for an open call at Ford (as is makeup, by the way). If you don't meet Ford's requirements, they will give you a list of other agencies in the area that might take you. Interesting fact: there is no age limit at Ford.

Our Men May Have Had Good Luck at Ford (Lee Owens, left, Kevin Lee Walker, Right)
Olivia Nichols got a call back at Factor
...and they BETTER SIGN HER!!!
These companies are part of the same parent group. Factor handles women, Chosen handles men. The group split from Elite a few years ago and is starting their agency in an effort to become smaller - to better grow their models (and I'm sure work with higher quality "product"). If you go to an open call at Factor, expect a speech from the man running the show that will last approximately 20 minutes. After that he'll have you stand up in front of him one at a time, give your height and age as well as something interesting about yourself. The key here is to be memorable, so make sure you listen to the stories he tells. Talking about sheep in an adorable Kentucky accent is a good way to be memorable, as Olivia Nichols learned. If you're not memorable enough, the man will dismiss you. Those "chosen" will stay behind to talk some more and share portfolios.

Erica Skrlac also got a call back at Factor!
They had better sign her too!!!
The cynic in me wonders how much Factor competes with BMG. The reason for this is that Factor's call is at 3:30 pm. If the man talks for 20 minutes there's no way that someone dismissed would make a BMG open call at 4 pm if they are on foot. Additionally, anyone Factor might be interested in would not have a chance to get to BMG at all because you will be there a longer period of time. Also, I'm almost positive this man who was judging our models at Factor knew exactly who he wanted to stick around before he even launched into his 20 minute monologue. But that's just my opinion.

The Chicago Cheat Sheet According to Styrch

For those of you thinking about going to castings in Chicago, here is my advice for you:
  • Know your height and don't lie about it - and if you go to Ford it won't make a bit of difference if YOU think you're 5' 8" and you measure that at home if the woman measuring comes up with a different number.
  • Take high heels, but wear nice flats - You won't use the heels as much as you think you will. And if you have to take off one shoe to be measured, you'll be standing awkwardly which can skew your height out of favor.
  • Jaylin Snider
    Wear minimal makeup and have your hair pulled back - If you have ever watched America's Next Top Model, this is consistent.
  • Dress nicely - don't look like you just fell out of bed. Leave your sweats and leggings home. Wear a nice shirt and crisp jeans if you want to be really casual. Otherwise, dresses, skirts, dressed up shorts... almost anything goes. Just don't dress like a slob.
  • Think of at least three interesting things about yourself that are different. If you're asked then you can pull them up to mind quickly.
  • Bring extra photos - More important than your portfolio may be a picture to leave at an agency (such as BMG) if they request one. These can be part of your portfolio, but have certain images your willing to part with that also show you at your best. 
  • If you have braces, wait! - It's not a dismissal, but they don't like to see them out in Chicago. 
  • Be on time! - You won't always have the power of a group behind you begging to be let in after hours if you go by yourself. Plan your visit appropriately. Know which agencies you're willing to skip if you have to prioritize castings. 
Caressa Brown mentoring Lexii Henry
Portfolio Tips From Caressa Brown
While most of the agency visits in Chicago did not result in anyone seeing their portfolio, it IS important to have something to show just in case. A former model herself, Caressa Brown helped our DFW models put together their portfolios. When Caressa gave advice, I took notes:
  • Lead with strong pictures - These are the first pictures they will see in your books.
  • Choose pictures without other models in them - you don't want to be upstaged and you want to show off YOURSELF as best as possible.
  • Show a range - Make sure your portfolios aren't all of the same kind of photos. You want to make sure you look as versatile as possible.
  • Be strategic - Check out agencies models' portfolios online. Learn your competition (who you most closely resemble). Be prepared to discuss how you can bring something different to the table. You may aim your portfolio to address this.
  • You're "best quality" picture may not be the "best" - Sometimes lower quality images are also the pictures that show off your talents. The print itself may not matter as much as what you are doing in the image.
  • Let them have it! - if they want an image at the agency, as state before, give them the picture.
Brooke Selanders, Courtney Ward, and Jaylin Snider Primp and Prep
Round Up
Overall, no determinations are made on the day of visiting any of these open calls. But it is one heck of an experience. We're still waiting to hear if any of our models will receive further call-backs. If I have the tally correct (and models, please let me know if I am wrong) confirmed callbacks are as follows:
BMG - Lee Owens, Brooke Selanders
Ford - No one yet... maybe the guys.
Factor - Olivia Nichols, Brooke Selanders, Shampain Simms, Erica Skrlac
Chosen - Like Ford, we're hopeful

Regardless, it's a good experience for everyone involved. At the very least, it's easier to experience your first "no" when you see others you know going through the same thing (or so I assume). Our models handled rejection like champs! And they were excited for those who were accepted by the agency as well. I think Caressa Brown felt a bit like a "proud mama" watching her baby models grow up a bit. Me... I enjoyed being part of the experience in general. And I'll gladly do it again.