Swimsuit Speak 2018

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LADIES. If I have learned one thing by the ripe old age of 26, it’s that no matter what number the tag in your jeans tells you you are, swimsuit shopping is. the. PITS. 

You feel me? You do. I know you (probably) do. 

Yesterday was National Bikini Day, a holiday not wasted on me. 

The word bikini is actually derived from the Latin bikino*, which translates to “a type of garment used to torture perfectly fine young females into feeling lesser-than, on the regular.” 

(*may or may not be factual, and in fact 6 hours of sun + rosé doing the talking.)

After the age of like 12, swimsuit shopping just sucks imho. I remember the fun of going and picking my swimsuit when school was out every summer, and wearing it until it was so pilled in the bum and the color so worn for wear that it retired at labor day’s end, in a perfectly satisfactorily way. NOW? Now. Now I have a perfectly wearable, non-pilled suit I was a little embarrassed to wear because it’s two years old, but I’ve worn it probably 5 times and it’s been on the Instagram already. I was too embarrassed to ‘gram a suit that has been ‘grammed multiple times before! Like WHAT? 

It isn’t enough to find a suit that suits you and your self esteem, but it has to be current and NEVER BEFORE SEEN. I am guilty as guilty gets, but man is that pressure maddening. 

I know more girls than I shed a tear when beloved VS stopped retailing swimwear, which just made the struggle that much harder. When your top hits a particular size threshold, it becomes quite difficult to find a reasonably priced, supportive, non-granny top (the magical trifecta.) Or a bottom that doesn’t give up all your secrets while avoiding looking like a flashy adult diaper. 

Suits that I’ve found that fit the criteria: 

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Old Navy square neck one piece. Austin kept saying I looked like Wendy Peffercorn, which wasn’t an insult! It comes in a few colors, but the yellow is the only one with the texture I liked. I’m not a fan of the super slick one pieces that seem to highlight all the wrong rolls. The MOST supportive? Naw. But supportive enough with a corset-like back to help harness you in, while being way budget friendly? Yes, please.

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Target’s new Shade & Shore line is A+ in my book. The bottoms weren’t as high as one long-torso’d soul would hope, but they were fine while having great on-trend detailing (and decent coverage!) The tops are sized by cups, adding major brownie points. 

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This is old faithful that you may have seen me wear more than once! The pattern is from 2016, but I am in LOVE with this boyleg one-piece style, and plan on trying to find one on sale at summer’s end! 

My last tip is basically just to find a pair of black bottoms that you love (high waisted black bottoms, are my fave flattering shape from Old Navy) and then find a top somewhere else you love that has a little black in it! Mixing and matching without looking too mix-and-match is sometimes just the way to go. It eases the pressure of finding the PERFECT BIKINI in one swoop.

Anyone have any swimsuit secrets they’ve been holding out with? Comment, please, and share the love! 

Gettin’ down with the button down

I’ve loved the reinvention and evolution of the classic button-down trend over the last five or so years. (Ah yes, suspend disbelief with me and let’s pretend for a time that I’m truly an expert in the broad field of Fashion, dear reader. Am I fooling anyone? And now collectively, let’s L-O-L, because we all really know I’m just a girl who likes buying clothes and talking about them with you. Just a friendly reminder that the only credentials I have were self-endowed given years of retail styling and a slight bent toward shopaholicism.)

Truly, though, from basic button-up work blouses, to shirt dresses, to skirts, to rompers, classic button-up styles have really evolved, and this summer, are trending hard. (By June of 2018, I’m sure the news that front buttons are in is not surprising.)

What is surprising? Let’s be honest, probably nothing about this post. I just found a dang great, on-trend, comfy as all get out skirt that I’d love for all my friends to know about.

It caught my eye pretty immediately because the front snaps are the exact shade of some of my most commonly adorned, brushed-gold jewelry, and I felt it would make a great summer staple-with-a-twist. Given my height and build, as much as  I love them, full top to bottom seam front-buttons can be precariously PG-13 if the buttons aren’t placed strategically. I’ve had quite a few dressing room nopes due to wide gapping, and was elated that this was a resounding fitting room YEP.

Front buttons/snaps, midi-length, fully lined, tie waist, soft/non-cripsy fabric: an ultimate 3-trends-with-1-stone skirt. You know the kind. (Oh? You don’t? Maybe give this a shot if you fancy a midi.)

Happy Sunday, and happy styling, friends. (PSA, as of today June 24, it’s also 40% off!)

1-2-3 Lemon Cookies

My mother is a baker; the kitchen barstools, something of a counseling couch in my childhood home.

This isn’t breaking news to anyone who befriended any of our family in the last 1-to-30 years, plus is likely 100% responsible for my personal sweet tooth and affinity for knowing my way around a spatula. I spent hours of adolescence sitting at the counter watching my mother bake, talking, and consciously or not, committing her motions to memory. A love of baking for me is as much about the sugar as it is about the bond it gives us.

In no small part due to our regular kitchen-counter counseling sessions, there are parts of baking & cooking that come as naturally to me as laughing. I don’t remember exactly when or where I actually learned some of it all. In the same way, there are “recipes” that I just know. One of them is this 1-2-3 Cake Mix Cookie -a lifesaver on a day I want to bake, but not really really bake, you feel me?

God bless you, Betty Crocker & Sandy Mosier for the gift of these cookies.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 boxed cake mix of choice (in the summer for me, it’s always lemon. Give me lemon EVERYTHING in the summer.)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil

Today, I added a good squeeze of 1/2 a lemon because I had one, and I wanted to for a boost of lemon flavor (non-essential, obviously).

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Mix up all of the ingredients. The dough will be a bit sticky-looking.
  • Drop about a teaspoon size onto your greased cookie sheet, or in my case, my pizza stone that I cook everything on (ungreased).
  • Bake for about 9 minutes! Brown the little cookie bottoms, and expect them to be delightfully chewy.
  • I sprinkled the tops with powdered sugar today as they cooled, because I’m nothing if not vain about cookie presentation, #priorities.

(Dough to Done for reference.)

Summer ready legs: a sweet little recipe

If you were expecting a post about getting the shape of your legs ready for summer, you are hilarious –I have no idea how to do that. But with all the seasonal hype about getting beach-ready bodies, one crucial detail is often overlooked:  the skin on top of the legs you’ve been lunging.

Getting your legs ready for summer is a little like cleaning your tub –if you wait until 30 minutes before weekend house guests arrive to clean it for the first time in 4 months, you’ve got your work cut out, and I can promise the results are going to be less than satisfying for everyone involved. (Also, that’s just kind of gross. Clean your tub.)

Especially if your climate is dry, the toll winter takes on your skin can be severe, and really difficult to bounce back from if it isn’t cared for regularly –but wipe your tears, there is hope.

Moisturize. And then moisturize some more. And then maybe again.

Partially due to being raised in a desert climate, I think there are more lotions, body butters, and creams than any other “beauty supply” in my closet. I can’t get enough of them. I’ve worked moisturizing into both my getting ready and bedtime routines, so that it’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with itchy, flaky, embarrassing skin. When shorts-season is sprung upon us, I don’t have to moisturize seven times a day hoping no one notices my ashy knees.

The razor makes all the difference.

Cheap dollar store razors might work for some people, but I think those people are lying –or have never invested in a slightly better razor and don’t know better. I use the word “invest” lightly, they  aren’t that expensive for a much more satisfying result (I have had razor burn for days trying to trim my budget and go cheap on razors. It’s much less painful to start buying off-brand paper towels or cut down Starbucks visits.) Whether or not you choose to take the plunge into the word of 3-blades and beyond, having a sharp, new razor is always critical for preventing unsightly razor burn and irritation.

I’m an advocate for Gillette Venus products, the Olay 5 Blade is my favorite –but their disposable counterpart options work perfectly fine.

Exfoliate. And then exfoliate some more. And then maybe again. 

(But don’t overdo it –you still want to have skin.) It’s difficult to feel pretty with dry, scaly skin –so get rid of it. Exfoliating will slough away dead skin cells and make your legs much more receptive to moisturizer.

I use an inexpensive drugstore exfoliator every few days all over, (there are nicer products out there for when I feel a little splurgy, but I find my cheaper bottle does its job just fine for regular use.) But once every two weeks in the summer my favorite way to exfoliate comes from this simple recipe:

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  • 2 cups plain, white sugar from your baking cupboard
  • 3/4-cup oil (olive, canola, coconut, scented body oil- whatever is at your price point. Keep in mind the scrub will leave you smelling faintly of whichever oil you choose. For me, smells are a big deal.)
  • 4 tablespoons of lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)

Now for the fun:

1.      Mix  it all up in a bowl.

2.      Draw a warm bath.

3.      Soak for 5 minutes. (Ah, the best part.)

4.      Perch yourself up on the edge of the tub and shave one leg.

5.      Take a big handful of sugar scrub and scrub away at the leg you just shaved. Rinse.

6.      Shave this leg again.

7.      Repeat step 5 and scrub the same leg again.

8.      Repeat this process on your other leg (shave, scrub, rinse, shave, scrub, rinse.)

9.      Pat dry and lotion up!

Tip:  Rinse out your razor frequently through the process. You’re removing hair and dead skin. It’s incredible (if by incredible, I actually mean a little gross –but hey, the results rock.) It isn’t a Robin Karber Original, but I’ve seen it a hundred different places, always slightly tweaked to preference, and this is mine. It’s not an exact science -make  it work for you.

While skin maintenance may  feel burdensome, having freedom to not hide beneath heavy denim or shoe-skimming hemlines when the temperatures rise is worth the little extra love for your legs year-round.

What tricks do you have for soft skin? Favorite body cream? I’d love to hear them, comment below!