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.

NaNoWriMo Has Begun!!!

You're probably wondering what NaNoWriMo is. Well it's National Novel Writing Month. Novelists (and would-be novelists) across the country set out to write at least 50,000 words of fiction in 30 Days. Some established writers look at this like nasty tourists trampling all over their home turf.  As one of the aforementioned "nasty tourists" I look at this as an opportunity. I always have ideas for stories - lets see if I can make something of it!

Now, I fully intend to continue with this blog  (not to mention my full time job) and try to hammer out novel. So bare with me... for this month my priorities are shifting again. If you want to keep up to date with my progress take a look at the right hand  bar in my blog - you'll see a word count total which should update (as long as I update it).

Additionally, if you are moved to give me encouragement, I am also participating in fundraising activities for the nonprofit organizationThe Office of Letters and Light who organize NaNoWriMo and raise money for the Young Author Program among other programs encouraging creatives to write! I will see none of this money - it all goes to the organization. So please donate - it will encourage me through this month!

Special thanks to my good friend Ginger who made a donation last night to kick off my November 1 writing!!! See you sporadically through the month and definitely on the other side!

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? If you have, please let me know and I'd love to hear your advice and strategies for finishing!