Almost Lovely

the semi-daily adventures of an average woman trying to live stylishly

New House, New Bras! May 14, 2008

Filed under: body issues,undergarments — almostlovely @ 1:25 pm

Woo hoo! We’re finally in the new house. Everything is pretty chaotic right now. This is our third day here and we’ve already done lots and lots of painting. The living room is now a very inviting chocolate brown color and the bedroom is starting to finally look more like candy apple red and less like a bunch of smeared strawberry jam. Pics coming as soon as I find the wires for my digital camera.

Today I received those bras that I’ve been talking about for the last few days. I ordered from Figleaves.com and I must say that the shipping was very speedy and the packaging very sturdy. And hey, here’s something cool–we weren’t home when the FedEx delivery person came, so they just left it on the porch. I know it must sound a little silly to be psyched about boxes left on one’s porch, but at the apartment we would have had to go all the way back to the office and wait for them to dig it out of their vault. Now that we’re in a (I suppose) respectable neighborhood, the FedEx dudes can leave boxes on our doorstep without fear of theft. So, you know, yay.

I’m taking the Le Mystere bras for a test drive and, so far, I like what I see. It’s a bit disconcerting because it’s molded and full-coverage, so it sort of feels like you’re wearing armor. But you really can’t beat the support and it’s nice to have some wide-ish, comfy straps. I’m not sure whether it’s the bra itself that I like so much, or the fact that I’m finally wearing undergarments in my correct size. I suppose it must be a combination of the two.

I was walking around with this sort of strange, “light” feeling… and then I realized that my breasts were actually getting adequate support and that I was able to hold my torso up without straining myself. So, yeah, I’d say that’s a pretty cool thing.

Reviews coming soon, of course. I also received the Coolmax Sports Bra and still need to take it out for a jog before sharing my opinions.

 

Last Pre-Moving Day May 11, 2008

Filed under: fashion,style,undergarments — almostlovely @ 10:21 am

I can’t tell you how happy I am that today is our very last day in the apartment. When we finally leave, I may get nostalgic for the loud upstairs neighbors, the echoing shared hallway, and the creepy drunk guys my next door neighbor seems to attract like a magnet. But, then again, maybe not…

We’ve still got a bit of packing to do–mostly rearranging things, I think. Yesterday afternoon we decided to get a head start with re-painting the living room back to white. This was certainly no easy feat given that we were repainting the walls white over a kind of darkish blue. Needless to say, I’m a tad sore and not really in the mood to get much of anything done today. Still, the thought that, after today, I will never again have to endure my abominable neighbors is like a natural Red Bull for the soul.

No real outfit news today. Over the past week, I have taken to sleeping in this old slip I found in a Salvation Army store almost ten years ago. Instead of taking the effort to change into an actual outfit, I have elected to wander around the apartment in my slip like an old lush from the sixties. Should be fun.

 

Major Appliance-buying outfit May 10, 2008

Filed under: body issues,fashion,outfits,style,undergarments — almostlovely @ 9:00 am

Hi, guys! So, the last few days have been very crazy with all of the packing and everything, but I’m super-psyched to tell you that yesterday we finally signed all the paper work and closed on our very own house! Yay! It’s a very cool thing, though I’m not totally sure that the fact that the husband and I really, really own something has completely sinked in.

Today we’re off to buy a washer and dryer, our very first major appliance! It’s a really big step that solidifies our transition from unattached apartment-dwellers to real, semi-responsible homeowners. Here’s my outfit for today’s major appliance hunt:

I have just woken up and haven’t actually bothered to brush my hair or put on any war paint. Such is my devotion to my craft…

I’ve had the khakis for a few years now and you may notice that they have battle scars from multiple furniture staining and room painting excursions. I still wear them outside because I think they have kind of a likeable, worn-in character about them. On top, I’m wearing my little gray puff-sleeved thing from H&M over a shirred white tank top from Old Navy. I’ve got a real jones on for layering right now. And yes, I do plan on putting on some shoes at some point, probably a sandal or something.

In bra news, on Thursday night I ordered that Le Mystere bra I’ve been talking about as well as a Coolmax Sports Bra. Do yourself a favor and click on the link–HerRoom.com has an awesome demo video of the Coolmax Sports Bra in action. You’ll find yourself wondering, “Is that bra made out of fairy guts? Because there is no damn way that it controls bouncing that much.” I had to get it. Especially since I’ve started considering upgrading my morning walk with the puppy to a morning jog with the puppy.

I’m really excited about getting these bras. Now that I’ve decided to really commit to finding bras that are appropriate for me, I’ve started to notice how my current selection is too small, rides up in the back, and tends to put a lot of strain in my shoulders. Women always say that finding their proper bra size changed their lives. I’ve upgraded a cup size and changed my band size–looks like I was way off-base when it comes to sizing up my boobies. I don’t expect the new bras to change my life (unless they can help my pick the winning lottery numbers) but I am certainly looking forward to being able to stand up straighter and have fewer neck/shoulder pains. That would be awesome.

 

The Joys of Dandelion May 6, 2008

Filed under: makeup,reviews — almostlovely @ 5:25 pm

I first heard about Benefit’s powder, Dandelion, several years ago in a fashion mag whose name I can’t recall. I remember that the writers claimed that Dandelion did just the trick to make one look pregnant–you know, in that “natural healthy flushed cheeks” way. At that time, my budget permitted me to wear mostly drug store brands with a little bit of Clinique thrown in occasionally. Needless to say, the $28 price tag really threw me for a loop.

A few weeks later, I finally did get my hands on some Dandelion. I bought a box on eBay for like $22 but ended up paying $3 for shipping. So, as it turns out, not much of a savings there. Anyway, when my powder finally arrived, I was initially a little taken aback by how small my Dandelion appeared to be. I was like, “Jesus Christ, almost thirty bucks for this little thing?!” But, upon further inspection, I found that they do seem to pack a pretty healthy portion of powder into that little box, so the price is justified, in my opinion.

Dandelion is a very soft pink on your skin, very translucent. In the box, it looks like the color will be somewhere between bubblegum and a ballet slipper, I have found that the powder isn’t very highly pigmented. Instead, Dandelion seems to give one a subtle, rosy glow. It has a very subtle shimmer to it, enough to make your face look glow-y but not enough to make one look like a disco ball when standing in full sunlight. I guess the right word for the effect would be “dewy.”

It comes in a little green cardboard box that remains intact even after much tossing around in my purse and/or backpack. Inside the box, there’s a convenient little brush that I use for touch-ups. I prefer to use my big powder brush for application first thing in the morning.

Since the magazine (whatever it was) described Dandelion as an ideal powder blush, that’s how I used it at first. The look was very nice and not overly makeup-y. It just kind of looked like I had a little glow about me. However, it took quite a bit of work to get it to really show up on my cheeks. I’m Philippino, so I enjoy medium-toned skin that tends to look tan year-round. Dandelion is maybe a bit too subtle for my skin tone, though it can be used as a blusher on medium-toned gals if you’re willing to spend a few minutes layering the stuff on. It’s a real testament to the quality of Benefit products that the powder never, ever took on a cakey look.

I’ve had the same box of Dandelion for about four years now… oddly, I’ve known this little box of powder longer than I have known my husband. And there’s still plenty of pretty pink powder in there, by the way. Of course, your mileage may vary. I would get absolutely obsessed with this powder for awhile, then put it on the shelf for a few months, then repeat the cycle. If used every single day, I’m not sure that your box of Dandelion will last as long as mine, but I would guess that it will last you at least a year if you use it every single day.

And hey, even after all this time, it hasn’t cracked or dried at all. I think that’s pretty cool. It really shows you that you’re not just paying for a cool name, you’re actually paying for quality here.

Anyway, these days I’m using Benetint or Tarte Cheek Stain (reviews coming soon) as blush and experimenting with Dandelion as more of an all-over powder. So far, the results have been promising, but I’m always looking for the next big thing. In case you’re curious, here’s how Dandelion looks on me in real-world conditions: this pic was taken after my post-work walk with the puppy. My last touch-up was about four hours ago.

If I look a little spaced out in this pic, it’s probably because I was probably a bit dehydrated. But hey, you wouldn’t know it by looking at me! J/K. In this pic, I wore Dandelion on top of Benetint. I think it gives a natural-looking flush, but still one that is noticeable. And dig the glow-y skin. Ooohh….

The Verdict: A-

A good investment as a subtly illuminating all-over powder, but may not be a good blusher for medium-toned folks. When used as a supplement to Benetint, the results are sublimely natural.

 

Crocs-a-go-go May 5, 2008

Filed under: body issues,fashion,shoes,style — almostlovely @ 11:03 am

Comfy shoes are really important in my line of work. I’m not doing a lot of walking, but my clients usually live in areas where the county doesn’t spend much time maintaining the sidewalks, so sporting heels or even certain styles of boots is not really a good idea.

It seems that there are two kinds of people in this world: those that wear (or would be willing to wear) Crocs… and those that hate Crocs with a fiery passion. There seems to be very little middle-ground here.

Those that revile Crocs often talk disparagingly about the clunky appearance of the shoes, the oddness of the rubber-ish material, the foot sweat, and the awkwardness of finding that you are wearing the same shoes as your 3-year-old nephew. All very valid points. Those that love Crocs praise the durability of the shoe, the easy clean-up, the variety of styles, and (above all) the absolute comfort of those soft, rubbery buggers. Again, all very valid points.

For the longest time, I hated Crocs. I refused to wear them because they just looked so damn weird. I mean, why the hell was I going to wear shoes with holes in them? But then one day, I got in my head to look for some new, comfy flip-flops and came upon these little beauties at my local sporting goods store…

And with that, I was hooked. I must say that I was immediately impressed by how cushy-comfy these guys felt. The weird little raised dots (“circulation nubs”) took some getting used to, but now I kind of like them. I’ve had these for about a year and they are as good as when I wore them home from the sporting goods store. And, you know, they really do look cute when paired with a casual outfit. I mean it. I’m all for comfort and practicality, but I wouldn’t be wearing these things if they made my feet and/or outfit look like crap. So believe me when I say they look nice. Are they as cute as a pair of Mary Janes, though? Maybe not…

Which brings me to my next Crocs purchase. I actually found these little babies on eBay. The seller had them marked as a “rare” style so I snapped them up quickly only to find that I could get them on Crocs.com, Amazon.com, and Zappos.com. I’m sure they meant “rare” as in… Oh, I don’t know.

Anyway, these are pretty cute and (of course) comfy. They do tend to make my feet look a bit wide, but I don’t find that overly concerning. I figure that women are already under so much pressure to have thin bodies that I don’t have any spare time to spend on worrying about having thin feet. My only issue with these shoes is that sometimes the little button-things where the strap attaches can dig a bit into the underside of your foot. But for some reason that doesn’t always happen, so I guess it’s not a really big deal.

I guess the only thing that consistently annoys me about these shoes is the foot sweat that comes with wearing rubber shoes with no ventilation. I combat the problem by slipping them on and off several times a day, which is very easy to do. I tried sprinkling some deodorant powder inside, but the stuff kind of gets everywhere. I say “no thanks” to looking as if I hitched a ride in a concrete mixer. Plus the powder makes walking a little more difficult (at least at first) because it creates a bit of slipperiness in the shoe.

Anyway, here’s how these look on me. Notice the wideness of my feet. It’s something I’ve learned to accept. I think it’s a little effed up that I’m so used to shoving my feet into hard little, misshappen shells that the actual shape of my feet seems unattractive to me.

 Anyway, I’m in the market for a new pair of black Mary Jane-type Crocs to complete my arsenal. I was considering just getting the black version of the above style, but then I found these and I think that I might have changed my tune…

They have the comfy Crocs sole that I have come to love, but look much more like a “real” shoe than other Crocs. They don’t have that Mary Jane look, but I think that a little variety might be good. And maybe these won’t make that weird little farting noise that the Mary Jane-type ones can sometimes make when I have a little sweat going on. I don’t know.

* All pics courtesy of the awesome folks at Zappos.com.

 

Spring Outfit Search

Filed under: Etsy,fashion,outfits,skirts,style,undergarments — almostlovely @ 9:39 am

Today is an all-office day, so you would think that I might try to wear something a bit more fancy than another t-shirt and jeans combo, however that was not to be. Apologies for the lack of pic–rest assured that it looks pretty much the same as this outfit, but with shorter sleeves.

I do have some valid excuses, though. Well, semi-valid. I did let myself sleep about ten minutes too long, so I ended up taking the dog on our daily walk just a little bit late. By the time I got back in the apartment, it was too late for me to change into a prettier outfit, so the original t-shirt/jeans combo stayed.

On days when I don’t have anything to do but stay at the office, time seems to go by very, very slowly. So much of my job involves being out in the community with moms, preparing for visits with moms, and doing paper work about what happened during my visits with moms. The only problem with this is when my moms either cancel on me or don’t show up to our visits. Right now things are pretty dull at work (at least for me.) I note with some resentment that all the other new hires seem to be building up their client bases whereas mine is looking pretty pathetic right now. Not that this is intentional or anything, but it’s hard not to feel frustrated.

According to my calculations, I’ve got about fifteen minutes of actual, honest work to do today. After that, my plan is to surf the web looking for the perfect casual spring shoe, fantasize about how we’ll decorate the new house, and troll around Etsy for cool handmade clothes. One slight problem with this situation is that, covet though I may, I will probably have to wait about a month or so to make any fun clothing purchases. I allow myself one splurge for each paycheck and this week I’ll be buying the Le Mystere bras that I’ve been blogging about.

Still, depending on how finances come out I may be able to buy a new outfit from Old Navy, a trusty old friend of mine. I’ve been looking into exploring different stores, but Old Navy has always been one of my staple brands. I’ve been a very, very good girl this last week and a half or so–mostly because I’m too paranoid to buy anything online because we’re moving so soon. So as it turns out, I might actually have a bit of extra money once payday rolls around this week. I plan to buy the Le Mystere bras and also possibly this cute little outfit retailing at about $50…

I do like cardigan-type things very much. Ditto on subtle puff-sleeves. I think the combination is kind of sweet and retro. I plan on wearing this with a cute tank underneath or maybe even a cute button-up shirt. And the polka dots are adorable. I think that my wardrobe is sorely lacking in polka dots.

Although you know I love my A-line skirts, pencil skirts are also comfortable and cute. Plus it’s nice because one doesn’t have to worry about random gusts of wind embarassing the hell out of you. This linen skirt should be a sweet addition to my wardrobe.

Now to find some cute spring shoes…

 

Update on Bra Shenanigans May 4, 2008

Filed under: undergarments — almostlovely @ 3:00 pm

After much thought, I have decided what to do with my bra situation. As you may recall, I was sort of torn between three worthy candidates. On the one hand, the first two were so nicely priced that I could have bought three or four without flinching. On the other hand, the last bra was much more expensive but probably better-constructed and would most likely last longer.

Decisions, decisions. With the help of HerRoom.com (very recommended for in-depth lingerie reviews) I decided upon the most expensive bra. If you are ever in doubt when ordering your underthings online, check them out–their page for my bra of choice is pretty awe-inspiring. Not all of their product pages feature demo videos of the products in action, but it’s still a very fun site.

By the way, I did find out the difference between softcup bras and underwire bras. Apparently, softcup bras may not provide the same level of shaping that underwire bras provide, though they may be more comfortable than underwires. I’m not ruling out softcup bras yet (I do plan on buying the Playtex 18-Hour Comfort Shaping Softcup Bra later) but right now I’m really looking to stage a total bra revolution in my underwear drawer. This means that I need to invest in some daily-type bras that I can count on for good shaping and support both during the work-week and the weekend. The Playtex bra might be more of a weekend-type bra. We shall see.

Right now, I’m just biding my time, waiting for the first opportunity to order two of the Le Mystere Dream Tishas. Of course, pay day doesn’t come until later this week, so I’ll have to wait. However, it’s something I’m having a great time looking forward to–these bras will probably be among the first pieces of mail that I receive at the new house. Yay!