Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Daily Look: Pre-Vacation Shopping

We're on vacation! Sam and Lauren are spending two weeks exploring California from San Francisco to San Diego. We've scheduled posts for every other weekday that we're gone. In the meantime, follow our trip on Instagram @twinstyle_sam and @twinstyle_lauren.

Shirt: Banana Republic Factory // Skirt: H&M // Shoes: Gap Factory // Bracelet: Madewell // Bucket Bag: Old Navy // Earrings: BCBGeneration via Lord & Taylor // Sunglasses: Ray-Ban // Nails: OPI Dim Sum Plum // Lips: Revlon Certainly Red (applied as a stain)

I wore this outfit the weekend before we left for California while running some pre-vacation errands with my husband. He needed a new pair of flip-flops (or flippy-floppies, as he has called them since watching a certain Lonely Island video), so naturally we headed to Old Navy, aka the flip-flop capital of the world. While we were there, I spotted the very purse I was carrying, which I had bought online a few weeks ago, and was relieved when I saw that I had gotten a better deal online. Phew! I have a tendency to wait awhile before wearing a new item in case it happens to go on sale for a better price, and this was actually the very day I cut the tags off of this bucket bag, so I would've been pretty annoyed with myself had it been cheaper at the store.

Do you ever wait before wearing a new item to either find a better price or decide if you really want to keep it, or are you more the wear-it-as-soon-as-I-possibly-can type? I do both!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Daily Look: Help Wanted

We're on vacation! Sam and Lauren are spending two weeks exploring California from San Francisco to San Diego. We've scheduled posts for every other weekday that we're gone. In the meantime, follow our trip on Instagram @twinstyle_sam and @twinstyle_lauren.

Dress: Asos // Shoes: Jessica Simpson via Marshall's // Earrings: Gift // Stacked Rings: Madewell, The Limited // Mood Ring: Vintage

This blog post is a little different because it isn't my outfit of the day; it is more of a potential outfit of the day.  I got this dress in the mail from Asos, but I haven't decided yet if I am going to keep it or return it.  I really love the shape and the Swedish feel of the floral pattern, but is it too retro looking?  It's a pretty fine line between a sixties-inspired look and a hippie costume.

I also usually avoid buying dresses that cost more than thirty dollars, and this slightly exceeded that amount.  On the other hand, it does make me feel pretty, and I've been watching so many What Not to Wear re-runs this summer that I feel like I can hear Stacy and Clinton telling me that if I like the way I feel in it, I should keep it.  Of course, they aren't on hand to give me $5,000, so the price matters.

What do you think?  Is it a keeper or should I add it to the pile of returns that I have accumulating in my closet?  Help!

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Ultimate DIY Manicure Kit

We're on vacation! Sam and Lauren are spending two weeks exploring California from San Francisco to San Diego. We've scheduled posts for every other weekday that we're gone. In the meantime, follow our trip on Instagram @twinstyle_sam and @twinstyle_lauren.

I've been doing my own nails every week for the last 8 years or so. During that time, I've experimented with a lot of different products to try to achieve the perfect at-home manicure. I've also read hundreds of MakeupAlley reviews in my quest for the best (or HG, in beauty-review speak) nail products, and after years of trial and error, I think I've finally created my ultimate DIY manicure kit. Here are my top picks that I can't live do my nails without.

1. Crystal Nail Files
I finally bought some of these a few months ago after hearing how good they were for years. I'm not sure what took me so long, but I love the way these leave a smooth finish and don't get dull the way that traditional emery boards do. I own the Cheeky ones linked to above and in the picture, but you can also find them at Sephora, among other places.

2. Revlon Colorstay Base Coat
This was another product I discovered thanks to its stellar MakeupAlley reviews. I must admit, I tried a few base coats years ago and concluded that they were pointless, just an attempt to force consumers to buy yet another product. But I decided to try this anyway, and wow, it proved me wrong. This stuff really works! It keeps my manicure virtually chip-free for 7-10 days, which is 3-5 days longer than before I started using this. The links on this post will take you to Amazon, but I actually buy it at my local supermarket for less. They just don't have this on their website!

3. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
Anyone who reads a lot of beauty blogs and magazines has almost certainly heard of Seche Vite. It's widely considered to be the best top coat available, and you won't hear me arguing with that. I first started using this a few years ago when my mom got it for me as a Christmas present, and I haven't looked back. Seche Vite dries fast and rock-hard, so your nails can take a beating without getting dented. It also keeps my nails salon-shiny for at least a week, which no other top coat I've used in the past was able to do. The cons? Seche Vite does smell terrible (like, worse than regular nail polish), and it thickens once you get to the halfway point of the bottle. To deal with that, you will need the next product.

4. Seche Restore Thinner
This is to use once your Seche Vite top coat gets too thick. Yes, it's kind of annoying that you need an extra product, but in my opinion it's totally worth it. I buy it in the largest size on Amazon from whichever seller is offering the best deal. Supposedly, you can also use it to restore nail polishes that have gotten too thick, but I haven't tried it for that yet.

5. Cutex Cotton Ball Holders
These might look like mini UFOs, but they're actually nifty little devices that allow you to remove nail polish without ruining your manicure. I use them when I want to take off the nail polish on my toes without messing up my nails. They're a little bit tricky to use, but once you get the hang of it, they work well. So far, I've only been able to find them at, which is where I bought mine.

6. Acetone Nail Polish Remover
I spent years using various nail polish removers with fancy descriptions like "moisturizing" and "gentle" before I bought this no-frills nail polish remover at Target. It has one ingredient: acetone. And you know what? This stuff dissolves nail polish in no time flat. I used to absolutely dread removing my nail polish, and while I can't say that I now enjoy the process, I no longer put it off. I still buy up&up's version, but I imagine that you could probably get whichever brand's pure acetone nail polish remover is cheapest.

7. Nail Polish
Last but not least, I have a lot (or, as my husband would say, an insane amount) of nail polishes. I'm honestly not too picky about the brand; my collection includes Revlon, Love & Beauty, OPI, Maybelline, Zoya, Sally Hansen, and Essie, among others. I've found that just about any nail polish will look good and last a long time with the right base coat and top coat. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd probably go with Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear for its wide range of colors and low price. I generally avoid spending more than $3 on a single nail polish, and these babies run around $2.99.

If you made it to the end of this post, tell me: What are your favorite (HG) nail products? Do you use any of the ones in my ultimate manicure kit?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Daily Look: Throw Something On!

We're on vacation! Sam and Lauren are spending two weeks exploring California from San Francisco to San Diego. We've scheduled posts for every other weekday that we're gone. In the meantime, follow our trip on Instagram @twinstyle_sam and @twinstyle_lauren.

Blouse: Asos // Jeans: Madewell // Shoes: BCBG via Marshall's // Earrings: Loft // Ring: Vintage

One teeny tiny problem with the summer is that with so few things on my schedule, I tend to get very lazy with my fashion.  And when I say lazy, I really mean that I stay in pajamas all day.  When my only companions are my cats, it really doesn't matter, but when someone unexpectedly knocks on my door at two in the afternoon, I have to scramble.  This outfit is the result of just such a scramble!  Maintenance took me by surprise last week, and I barely threw this top and jeans on before they used the master key to come inside.

Once I had passed the great hurdle of getting dressed, I decided to really go all out and brush my hair. After that it only seemed natural to add a ring, slap on some lipstick, and pop over to Target.  Hey, if I'm going to take the time to change out of my elementary school t-shirt, I might as well check out the clearance section, right?

Do you get changed when someone knocks at your door?  I know Lauren will just answer in her pajamas, but I have had to learn my lesson from past mistakes.  I once let in maintenance having forgotten that I had completely unzipped the side of my dress.  Another time, I thought UPS had just left a package at my door and opened it in my robe only to find two momentarily stunned Mormon missionaries.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Daily Look: Breakfast Date

Shirt, Earrings: Loft // Shorts: J. Crew // Shoes: DV by Dolce Vita via Nordstrom // Clutch: Vintage via Jive // Bracelet: Francesca's // Nails: OPI Dim Sum Plum // Toes: Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Pep Plum // Lipstick: Mary Kay True Dimensions Pink Cherie

 I wore this shimmering silver outfit to meet one of my teacher friends for breakfast last Thursday. We hadn't seen each other since the school year ended, so it was fun to catch up. In fact, we had so much fun catching up that we outlasted the breakfast and lunch rushes, eventually realizing that it was past 1:00 in the afternoon. Whoops!

PS-Tomorrow, Sam and I will be flying to California for a two-week trip from San Francisco to San Diego. We have posts scheduled for every other weekday while we're gone. If you'd like, you can follow our trip on Instagram @twinstyle_sam and @twinstyle_lauren.

What have you been wearing this summer?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Outfit Inspiration: Keri Russell's Cool Girl Style

Maybe it is left over from my dorky-theater-kid high school days, but there is always some small part of me that wishes I was cool.  I can recognize it when I see it, but I never seem to really pull it off.  Lately I've started making excuses for myself, thinking that I am just too old to be cool.  But then I see 38 year old Keri Russell knocking it out of the park and I realize that I was giving up way too easily.

Seriously y'all, she looks so darn cool.  And the very best part is, I already have pretty much every item! Even more good news, since all of these pieces are so classic, they are available in every price bracket.  Aka you don't have to be making movie star scratch to get this outfit.  She looks so chic that I honestly didn't even process how simple this look is until I started to recreate it.

Look for Less: Keri Russel's Casual Cool Look

Keri's style has totally proven to me that cool is within reach.  I already own similar pieces, cool doesn't seem to have an age limit, and my excuses are running thin!  Okay, I'm heading to my closet right now to try to pull off something cool!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Daily Look: How to Wear a Crop Top Without Showing Skin

Crop Top: Express // Skirt: H&M // Shoes, Necklace, Bracelet: Ann Taylor // Ring: Madewell // Sunglasses: Cole Haan via Marshall's // Earrings: Target // Lips: Mary Kay Firecracker

I've been looking to add more boxy, cropped (but not crop-top) blouses to my wardrobe, so when I spotted this striped shirt during Express's 50% off sale last week, I pounced (especially because it was an insane deal at $10). But when I tried it on yesterday, I realized that it's a full-on crop top, landing a little above my bellybutton. Now, I'm fine showing my midriff at the beach, and I think it's cute when celebs show a little skin on a red carpet, but I just don't go anywhere I'd feel comfortable baring my belly. Still, this top was so cute, with its textured, woven stripes, that I decided to see if I could make it work (plus $10). I decided to try it on with a high-waisted skirt, and, lo and behold, no skin was showing, yay! I really like the proportion it creates, making my torso look smaller and my stubby legs longer (I hope). I plan to wear it to work with a camisole layered underneath for extra insurance against a midriff-slip.

Are you into crop tops? Would you (or do you) wear them? I always said I never would, but I guess I should've never said never!