Fitness, get fit, get healthy, self care, skin care, Summer Fashion, Summer Style

Hats, Baths, & Masks

HATS:

Hats are a must have for the summer months.  Not only do they protect our faces from the sun, they protect our hair too.  UVA rays dry out and damage the outer layer of our hair, making it appear brittle.  Add in the daily humidity, and summer hair can be the worst.  If you’re not having that great of a hair day, put your hair in loose braids or pull it back into a low pony and sock a cute hat on for instant style.  If you have short hair, you’re already ready to just wear a hat and go.  Most females overthink hats, but it’s actually a simple addition.  Solid colors are easier to coordinate and straw hats go with everything.  Just have fun with it.

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My black hat sort of reminds me of Jethro from the Beverly Hillbillies, but I really like it.  haha.  It’s a bit stretchy, not too tight, and is lightweight.  I’ve paired it with a shirt I pulled off the sale rack at American Eagle for $10.00 and some cut-off jean shorts (also from American Eagle).  With black sandals, I’m ready for any outdoor event.  Here’s a link to the tops currently on Clearance at American Eagle.

BATHS:

Do you sweat?  I’m a fitness freak.  Every day I do high intensity interval training and also run a couple of miles.  In the summer, especially, I sweat a lot.  Exercising to the point of producing lots of sweat is so good for us.  It manufactures happy feelings, gives us an energy rush, reduces aches and pains, and releases toxins from our bodies.  But getting that sweat off of our bodies is equally important.  The bathtub is a perfect solution.  Not only will it cleanse your body, but it will also restore and relax your body.

After a long day outside, it’s important to pamper our skin.  Again, the sun will do some damage.  Find a good moisturizing bubble bath, light a candle, turn on some soft music, and relax.  I experiment with different kinds of bubble baths, bath bombs, and body washes.  This one from Caress really does have a buttery burnt brown sugar smell as advertised.  It. Is. Yummy.  Here’s the link … I picked it up at Target.

 

 

Masks:   

If caring for our entire body is important, our faces should be at the top of the list as the most important part of our bodies.  Caring for our faces every day needs to be a priority.  I’ve said it before, and will say it again, don’t ever go to bed with makeup on.  It will age your skin.  Cleanse your face everyday.  Exfoliate often.  Pamper it with moisturizer two times a day, morning and night.  And try to make time for a mask once a week.

 

This mask is by a company called Yes To.   I’d heard the company was started by two guys who played soccer, and was definitely curious to find out what these dudes know about skincare.  As it turns out, they apparently know a lot.  They use 95% natural ingredients in their products and make sure all are free of toxins.  This was my first time using one of their masks, and I have to say I might be hooked.  It was thick and creamy, had a nice gentle scent, went on easy, and left my skin feeling so soft.  If you aren’t married to a certain type of mask, give it a try.  Target carries this product too!

The takeaway is self care.  As women, we’re so adept at taking care of others, aren’t we?  We check off lists all day every day.  It’s part of our DNA.  I swear, when God made Eve, that woman probably opened her eyes and immediately got to work sprucing up the Garden of Eden.

Adam was like:  “Hey, God made sex, and He says it’s very good … wanna have a go at it?”

Eve:  “Ummmm, yeh, sure thing.  But first I need to figure out how I can turn a pile of palm leaves into cute throw pillows for our bed, clear away all the brush so our outdoor digs will be tidy, prune a couple of trees to give some sharp curb appeal, and gather more fruit and veggies in case the Lord stops by for dinner … plus, don’t we have babies to tend to?”

Adam:  “Well, no … we have to have the sex first.”

Can you relate?  The housekeeping and the lists will wait.  The kids will wait too.  It took me fifty years, but I’ve finally embraced the importance of putting myself first for a couple of hours a day.  Living in the moment.  I’m very type-A … if I can do it, so can you.

Exercise, take baths, experiment with different beauty products, and love yourself.  Age is just a number, but life is short.  You’re worth the extra effort!

Just my thoughts,

Melanie

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gingham, romper, Summer Fashion

A Summer Of Gingham

Gingham is as vintage as Dorothy’s iconic dress, but still manages to remain fresh each year when Summer rolls around.  Lemonade stands, picnics, baseball games, parties by the pool, sandy beaches, and gingham.  It’s what we crave when the sunshine arrives to free us from cold weather.  This year, though, gingham is more than a traditional summer staple.  It has stepped up and is being rolled out as a fashion trend.  Old is somehow new again.

There are words we write in stone, aren’t there?  They are our character signatures.  Honesty, kindness, love, hope … caring for our children, looking after a friend in need, and believing in a power that is much higher than ourselves … those are a few we probably all share.  Other things, however, we write in the sand.  Those things are wiped away when the next wave comes in, never to be seen again.  Perhaps they are dreams meant for only our eyes.  Or maybe they are plans that are still in the building phase.  As summer makes her way in, even though you may be as vintage as gingham, be new again.  Take one of those dreams you’ve been writing in the sand, and dare to put it in stone.

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Since gingham is this season’s hottest fashion trend, you must put a piece in your wardrobe.  Pronto!  I found this cute off-the-shoulder black and white gingham romper at Lizard Thicket.  The fabric is cool, breezy, and wrinkle resistant.  Easy to pack for vacation.  And the draw string tie at the waist makes this romper adjustable for nearly every body type.

Rompers are so practical, by the way … they are a whole outfit that’s already put together.  It’s like getting two pieces of clothing for the price of one.  And no thinking or planning is ever required.  You simply slip it on like a summer dress and go.  The romper can be dressed up or down, and will always remain a classic.

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When I wear anything off the shoulders, I toss my hair up.  For this quick up-do, I started with a high pony and loosely wrapped my hair around and into a loose bun, not worrying about stray strands of hair.  Then I secured it with a few bobby pins.  It’s not perfect, but that’s the point.

This lightweight fabric teemed with a classic style I didn’t have to piece together is a winner.  Channel your inner Dorothy this season with some gingham.  While it’s true that there really is no place like home, you can still step out of your box with a romper and have an adventure or two.  This season is yours to seize.  Write something in stone, but don’t stop doodling in the sand.  Like vintage gingham, re-establish your place in the world.  And be new again.

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Just my thoughts,

~Melanie

 

 

Fashion, Summer Fashion

A Big Bag, A Swingy Dress, & Pink Shades

With the onset of summer, I always gravitate toward carrying a bigger bag.  Do you?  I mean, there’s something to be said for being prepared when the weather warms up.  Throw in a bathing suit … a pack of peanut butter and crackers … a water bottle … a pair of flip flops … a Little Debbie or two or three  (give me a break, I am from the south!) … and you’re prepared for anything the day may bring.

For me, there’s no better choice for summer than a crochet bag that goes with everything.  This hobo bag, offered by The Sak, is the perfect size for slipping in those extra somethings.  The long slender handle welcomes you to carry your belongings comfortably beneath your arm.  This bag is roomy, spacious, and can be dressed up or down.  And best of all, on Amazon, you can get it for a steal by clicking here.

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While most of the time I’m touting the fit and flare dress, every summer wardrobe must have a solid colored, semi-short, swingy dress.  I chose black, because I’m so basic, but any solid color will work.  Gently kissing your knees when you walk, this timeless style is subtly flirtatious and can be utilized in many ways.  Do you need to wear your bathing suit to and from the pool or the beach?  Well, lucky for you, this dress stands in perfectly as a cover up.  (From much experience, by the way, I know that no one will ever guess you’re wearing a bathing suit underneath it) …. Are you planning to attend an outdoor concert or to have dinner at your favorite restaurant?  Pair this dress with some fun jewelry, a dressy belt, and cute sandals to have a romantic night out on the town while looking fantastic.  Running errands?  No problem.  Pull on a pair of Converse chuck sneakers and go.  I wash and hang my dress so the cotton won’t wear.  It will be on my body once a week during the months of May thru August.  It’s a must have.

Summer Purse

Last, but not least, let’s talk about sunglasses.  Confession:  The most I’ve ever spent on a pair of shades is fifty dollars.  (Do the words fifty and shades, when used in the same sentence, make you stop in your tracks for a moment?  Or is it just me?  haha.).  Anyway, some eyes will roll right here, because fashionistas take their designer sunglasses seriously.  But my top end falls far short of the higher end price tags, because I’m the worst about losing and/or misplacing them.  Most often, to be honest, I pick up a few pair for fifteen or twenty bucks each and keep them all in the glove compartment of my car.  I’m functional that way.

These rose colored sunglasses by Nine West are my latest find:

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For thirty dollars, they are also a great deal!  They look very trendy, and in my humble opinion, rival the top brands.  The pop of color makes them more interesting than a traditional brown, black, or gold … while the rose shade compliments most any hair color and skin tone.  They can be found here  .

So there you have it, peeps.  Allow a crochet hobo bag, a swingy dress, and some rose colored shades to be your inexpensive solution to versatility, comfort, and style.  Don’t dawdle for too long, because the heat is rolling in.  And for gosh sakes, don’t forget the Little Debbie’s.  They won’t improve your swimsuit body, but they sure do taste awfully yummy.  Treat yourself!

Just my thoughts,

~Melanie

Summer Fashion, Summer Sandals

Choose The Dress

“I can’t afford to dress the way you do.”

“I can’t wear a sleeveless summer dress, because my arms look gross.  What would you suggest I wear instead?”

“Do you ever wear any bright colors?  Or do you always stick to basics?”

Those are some questions I’ve recently been asked by peeps who read my blog.  And in this post, I’m going to offer an answer to all.

First, I’m a bargain shopper.  In my former life, I earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and worked as a series seven licensed financial planner. (Big yawn, I know.)  Let’s just say the value of money has been chiseled into my brain by a professor or two.

Before finishing college, though, I worked extensively in retail.  My favorite and most valuable experience was when I went to work for a small fashion boutique.  It was there that I was allowed to see behind the wizard’s curtain.  Until that time, I’d walked into retail wonderland with a skewed belief that each price tag represented true value.  The owner of that sweet boutique, however, took me under her wing and showed me everything that had made her a success … including the mark-up in clothing.

The fit and flair dress I’m wearing in this blog post is made by Elle .  I got it at Kohl’s for five dollars.  So basically, I could’ve had a Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha Venti OR this cute dress.  Same price.  And I chose the dress.  You should choose the dress too!

I understand the value of money and am unashamed of my penchant for hunting down a good bargain.  So if you believe you can’t afford to dress like me, you are 100% incorrect.  It may take some time to uncover a good deal, but if I can do it, you can too.

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Second, if you’re not comfortable wearing a sleeveless summer dress, then go for capped sleeves like the ones on this dress.  A benefit of capped sleeves is that they draw the eye away from the rest of your body … in addition, they make your shoulders appear more broad, which makes your waist and hips appear smaller.  Win. Win.

Third, on the question about color, I do wear color sparingly.  I typically prefer solids, and my go-to colors are black, gray, army green, white, and navy.  However, I make exceptions, and my exception is usually red.  This dress is coral, out of my color comfort zone, but it was too cute to pass up.

Since I’m calling this upcoming season “The Summer Of The Dress”, I’m pairing most of my dresses with flat sandals to dress them down and to make them more sensible for every day errands.  While any flat will do, choosing a nude color tone will make your legs appear longer.  I think this goes without saying, but legs, ladies, are important when wearing a dress.  Take good care of them!  I’ve gone crazy over the vanilla shaving cream by EOS.  It smells like a sugar cookie and leaves your legs feeling smooth and super moisturized.  You can find it for a great price on Amazon by clicking here.

To close, this week has been one filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows.  My two youngest kiddos, both who have Down syndrome, began regular school this week.  And to my utter delight, they rocked it!!!  My house and my car were broken into.  Two laptops were taken, one of which held a 100+ page novel I’ve been writing for six months and the back-up USB thumb drive.  Someone I dearly love moved away.  Someone I once held in great regard pushed a boundary and disappointed me beyond words.  A friend stepped up and honored me by offering the act of selfless love.  And to top it all, I was given the opportunity to watch in utter amazement as an adult friend of mine who has Down syndrome carried his beloved father’s casket to what would be his grave site.  Before walking away, he kissed the casket and looked toward heaven.  Tears literally popped from my eyes.

Aren’t the highs and lows what make the journey so interesting?  Life is too short to worry about what to wear or what not to wear.  There’s too much to see and experience to be concerned about what others may think or say.  Choose the dress. Wear the dress.  Feel good.  Know that you are special because you are uniquely you.

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Just my thoughts!

~Melanie

Fashion, Summer Fashion

The Perfect White Pants For Summer

hue pants 2Finding the perfect pair of white pants for summer is not an easy task.  Can we all agree white pants are a summer necessity?  And can we also agree they are a short term purchase?  I mean, white pants collect dirt like the local public swimming pool collects toddler pee, old man body hair, and buckets of sweat.  (Insert a gag here.)  Please, for the love of all things somewhat sanitary, tell me we’re advancing beyond the masses gathering to public bathe.  I know I’m digressing here … but are any of you now picturing those little gray curly hairs floating in the water?  Oh my Lord, chills!!!!  (And not the good kind).  Back to the short lifespan of white pants, what I’m trying to point out is this:  We know going in that we’re gonna chuck those puppies come September when Labor day rolls around.  No matter how much Tide, All, Gain, or bleach we use on those pants, by the end of summer, they will look dingy.  It’s a fact of life.

So.  Should we just buy a cheap pair of white pants and not have high expectations on style?  No, no, no!!!  That’s definitely not the answer.  I’d argue we should keep the cost down, but that we always strive for a look that reflects who we are … and especially for a style that isn’t outdated.  Summer’s heat brings on the time of year when we feel more daring and free with our fashion choices … when we can show more skin and embrace sexy.  Settling for a pair of white pants that are so cheap you can see every dimple in your behind is not a choice. Purchasing a pair of white pants that look like they belong on Aunt Pearl isn’t an option either.   But no worries, ladies.  I’ve searched and have found the holy grail of white pants:

 

 

Made by Hue, these cute ripped knee jeggings are less than $50.00.  And if you don’t like the ripped knees or the frayed ankles, Hue carries them without those trendy extras.  First, they’re super comfortable, don’t sag or bag, and look way more like jeans than leggings.  Second, because they’re stretchy, you can pour that extra butter on your bag of popcorn when you wear them out to the movies without worry.  Third, they are wash and wear.  I wash and hang, because I don’t want to take a chance on them losing their shape … but the point is, they’re easy-peasy to take care of.  And fourth, for all the ladies who like to be nicely squeezed in when you wear pants, these suckers will tuck you in like a newborn in a swaddle blanket.  You will look a size smaller.  I promise.

On that topic, if you are of the mindset that loose, flowing clothing will hide what you perceive as flaws, it doesn’t.  No matter your size, tighter fitting clothing will always make you appear more fit.  And jeggings that have been designed with that goal in mind, do the trick even more.  So … try to avoid going for big and baggy … instead, show off your curves.  If you’re too self-conscious to get over the hump, as a compromise, you can always pair your jeggings and tank with a light and airy button down shirt or a breezy duster.  The key is to believe in yourself.  You can pull off any look if you’ll see yourself for the beautiful creation you truly are.  It’s how I see all of you.  There is no such thing as a perfect body shape or size … only a perfect heart, which is the most valuable fashion staple of all.

I paired the white jeggings with a buttery soft tie dye tank from American Eagle.  So plush, this shirt honestly feels like something you’d sleep in.  Underneath the tank, I’m wearing a white lacy bralette from Altar’d State.  I’m a 36C and can get away with wearing bralettes all summer long.  Full disclosure, yes, they do flatten your chest a bit and don’t offer a lot of support, but bralettes are much more comfortable than bras … and comfort counts when it’s as hot as Hades outside.  Last but far from least, my comfy clunky sandals are Dansko.

What are you waiting for?  Go get yourself some white pants!

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Just my thoughts,

Melanie

Summer Fashion, Summer Sandals

Best Summer Sandals Ever

Red painted toenails, sexy wedge sandals, and comfort you cannot even fathom.  Insert a chorus of More Than A Feeling by Boston right here, because not only are these sandals off the charts on the comfy scale, they are fire!!!

 

 

It all began a year ago, when on a whim, I purchased a pair of Eric Michael wedge sandals.  I was looking for a stacked heel that would make my legs look longer in a summer dress.  I liked the color, so I slipped them on and couldn’t believe how good they immediately felt on my foot.  I wore these sandals every single day.  I walked miles in them.  I even danced in them.  No joke.  This is what they looked like by the end of the summer:

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What makes them so special?  Well … I’m a sucker for cork.  A cork insole allows a shoe to mold to your foot over time while the natural elasticity of cork absorbs impact.  This means cork is good for your foot.  According to LeafTV:  “The material’s ability to hold the heel and foot in an orthopedically-correct position — combined with its shock absorption capacity — potentially reduces instances of plantar fasciitis and other forms of foot pain.” And on this particular wedge, because the straps are adjustable, it offers the added benefit of accommodating almost any width immediately.

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If you want height, this sandal will give you more than two inches without the stress of a heel.  (Platform shoes are a brilliant invention, aren’t they?)  Dress them up or down, and choose a variety of color options.   I’ve already bought two pair this year:

 

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This wedge sandal will once again be my go-to this Summer.  I’ll pair them with summer dresses and shorts when I go out, but will also sport them on the beach and by the pool.  By the end of the Summer, they will look exactly like my pair from last year.  I found a site that has them on sale right now if you want to purchase them:   Click Here!

Just my thoughts.

~Melanie

self care, skin care, Summer Fashion

A Timeless Summer

Spring is here, and Summer is fast approaching.  So ladies, if we haven’t been pampering our skin and bodies throughout our winter hibernation, well … it might be time.  I’m in the almost fifty year old category (27 days and counting), so I’m always trying new products that promise to slow down the hands of time.  If the so-called products happen to have rave reviews on Amazon, within seconds you can bet I have clicked those items right into my online shopping cart.  Here are two of my latest favorite finds:

The first, Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum made by Cosmedica Skincare, has had more than six-thousand reviews.  And 65% of those reviews received five stars!  Let me tell you, this product is ahhhhhhh-mazing.   Not only does it give your skin a youthful glow, but it also erases time from your face.  After using it for only a couple of weeks, I swear I could tell a difference!  Hyaluronic Acid effectively binds water to cells and is responsible for the elasticity and resiliency of the skin.  Think hydration on steroids, because this packs a punch.  Find it here!

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The second, Cosmedica Retinol Serum, is perfect for anyone who is looking for a retinol formula that isn’t overly harsh on your skin.  If you’ve used Retinol before, then you know it can sometimes burn.  This serum didn’t burn even on the first application.  If you haven’t used Retinol, and if you have any signs of aging on your face, then hop to it.  Retinol is magical unicorn dust!  Trust me.  You can find it here!

After your skin is in tip-top condition, why not show it off by treating yourself to a summer dress?  This summer is totally feeling like a year for pretty things, isn’t it?  And what’s more feminine and delicate than a sweet dress?  I’m in love with all things Altar’d State , but am especially fond of their dress selection.  This is their Hazleton Fit and Flare dress:

Made of stretchy polyester that will not wrinkle, this dress is lined with soft cotton.  The length hits right at the knee for a flirty appeal, and the scalloped neck/back make it a stunner.  My all-time favorite dress style is fit and flare, because it flatters every single figure and is timeless.  This Hazleton dress is such a throw-back.  It’s current enough, but with a touch of vintage chic.  And the price?  $69.99.  However, Altar’d State is the best at running buy one get one half-off sales … so, if you hit them at the right time, this dress could be a real steal!

Two skincare products that will roll back the hands of time.

One dress style that has stood the test of time.

Sounds like the beginnings of a timeless Summer to me!

Just my thoughts.

~Melanie

 

 

Fashion, Summer Fashion

It’s A Day Dress…It’s A Play Dress!

I don’t know what it is about sunshine, but it never fails to bring out the girl in me.  I turn fifty this year, but I’m still very much a girl.  Can you relate?  Show me the first daffodils of Spring, and I’ll happily swap denim for flirty cotton skirts and feisty summer dresses.  My favorite is the fit and flare design.  The name alone suggests fun and sexy … and most of my girlfriends want to be both!  I do too.

The fit and flare dress accentuates any body type and always makes a woman’s waist appear smaller.  A shorter dress has the added benefit of making legs look long and lean.  Once a female reaches middle age, a common misconception is that all skirts and shorts must hit at or below the knees.  Supposedly, as we gals age, our knees get ugly.  But think about it for a second … knees are honestly weird at any age.  So I say we ignore the hype,  put a halt on the knee shaming once and for all, and stock up on summer dresses that scandalously hit above the knee.  (Oh, the horror!!!  haha)

One of my favorite places to purchase summer dresses is Altar’d State.  Their prices are reasonable, their selection is amazing, and every time you purchase something, a percentage of the sale goes to a charity.   This dress is their Lavani Dress.   Made from polyester, cotton, and spandex, it doesn’t wrinkle and stretches in all the right places to fit perfectly.  In addition, the pattern tricks the eyes and hides flaws, which is an added bonus.  At less than $70.00, it’s a really good deal:

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But what’s a summer dress without a pair of sunglasses?  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather own scads of inexpensive sunglasses for the sake of variety than to purchase one or two really expensive pairs.  Plus, if I lose or break a pair, I never feel guilty.  I recently found these super cool shades for $12.99 at H&M.

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If winter has had you feeling over the hill, a bit dumpy, and totally worn out, there is good news.  Spring and Summer are coming soon, Hallelujah!!!  So get ready to shake off those icky blues by slipping yourself into a fit and flare dress.  It’s guaranteed to peel you off the sofa and toss you right out into town.  Metaphorically speaking, of course.

Celebrate your beauty at every age.  Dare to show your knees.  Embrace your inner sexy.  And let the eyes roll if they must.  We only live once ladies!

Just my thoughts,

Melanie