A Fashionable Fourth

If you’re like me, you love a theme party. And a Fourth of July barbecue, beach day, or potluck in the AC is a great opportunity to flex your sartorial chops while taking part in the good old, cheesy all-American fun. Get your stars, stripes, reds, whites and blues ready for a fun outfit opportunity no one wants to pass up.

Casual:
Having friends over or headed to a family BBQ? Keep it casual and comfy for maximum running-around-with-kids, dancing-under-the-stars, and munching-on-grilled-meats enjoyment. If you’ve been dying to try denim shorts and a midriff baring top, now’s your chance. Or keep it more girly in an open-back sundress with plenty of room to breathe.

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I ask you: why the hell not? These cheerful, star-spangled denim cutoffs are super-cute and will look great no matter what you pair them with. $17.80, forever21.com

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Kimchi Blue drop-waist white sundress is a no-brainer. Breezy and roomy but still flattering, this pairs well with a blue statement necklace. Add red lips and you’re perfectly on-theme. ON SALE for $19.99, urbanoutfitters.com

One Step Up:
So, your boyfriend’s boss (or grandma!) is throwing the shindig? Whatever the reason you might have to look more polished on the 4th, there are plenty of ways to do that while still feeling cute. Go for a slightly longer hemline or more classic silhouette in your party dress, or reach for red linen shorts instead of star-spangled cut-offs. Ballet flats, skimmers, or platforms are all great options.

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These are great to have, anyway. Treat yourself to a structured pair of bright red shorts and you will live in them all summer long. ON SALE for $35, jcrew.com

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This lovely Crisscross Corded Perf dress from Saturday by Kate Spade is an absolute homerun. Bonus: you can totally wear this to a wedding later in the season. $160, saturday.com

Poolside:
There’s nothing that instills as much fear into the heart of the American woman as the swimsuit. But if you’re headed to a pool party, suck it up and tote one, or you’ll spend the afternoon feeling bored and sorry for yourself while everyone else frolicks around in the water. Word to the wise: there is not a person on earth who loves everything about themselves in a swimsuit, so you’re in good company. Leave your hangups at the door and cool off in something cute.

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Underwire construction and a removable halter strap give you the support you need up top, while an adjustable tie cord on the bottom allows you to loosen things up if you need. $14.99 & $17.99 (sold separately), target.com

zinke

Craving more coverage? One-pieces are so cute these days! I adore the plunging, sexy neckline and ruffle detail on this one from Zinke. ON SALE for $106, asos.com

Fireworks:
Everyone knows that the best part of the day is the night, when the sky lights up in celebration of our beautiful country. But if you’re scantily clad and maybe even a little sunburnt, the change in temp can throw a wrench in your fashion plans. I always like to have a basic white cardi or really cute hoodie on hand for this moment. Then again, there’s nothing so romantic as stealing one off your man. Mine, however, is not big on sharing outerwear… he usually makes me bring my own!

rag&bone

Absolutely perfection selection, stylish yet laid back. Rag & Bone/JEAN cardigan with v-neck and artful hole detail throughout. $255, shopbop.com

Nails:
Yay! Nail art, nail art, always so much fun. Get your digits decorated in a flag theme or just a fiery red for a fun, spirited look. Or you can board the Jensy train and go nuts doing your own at home. So, my stripes are not perfect and the paper stars I tried to affix fell off, but I’m loving this whacky manicure nonetheless. Have fun!IMG_1537 IMG_1539

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Rock Candy

art-lips-candy-candy-lips-girl-Favim.com-492480Recently, some girlfriends of mine were chatting about their respective makeup ruts. I get it. As much as I love cosmetics, I, too have been known to fall into rhythms from time to time. One famous phase included a face adorned with the exact same products in the exact same hues every single day for over a year. Clinique acne solutions foundation, the obligatory under eye and pimple concealer, brown eye shadow by MAC or Estée Lauder, black Lancôme eyeliner, black Diorshow mascara, pink gloss from one of the above brands. And done.
prom-makeup-for-blue-eyesBut as I’ve gotten older and a little more adventurous with my beauty routine, I truly enjoy mixing it up. Of course there are some standards (many from the list above) that always work and can come to the rescue in a pinch, but these days I am loving experimenting with unexpected colors. Anything that reminds you of a piece of candy you loved as a kid will do. So, what do you think? Ready to have some fun? Here’s how to do it, without looking or feeling even the slightest bit ridiculous.
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Eyes are gorgeous with mint, purple, even the adventurous orange. You might also be delighted to know that blue eye shadow is not, in fact, reserved for drag queens and beauty queens. These days, rocking a blue shadowed eye is as easy as two swipes or can be as fun as layers of metallics and solids. Greens are also nice; I am quite addicted to the minty color you see above, NARS Cream eyeshadow in Carioca, $24. Build a base with your pale blue or green of choice and skip liner for day. At night, add soft gray pencil against the lash line for more definition. Finish up with gobs of black mascara. You will get compliments. Many. Trust.
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Lips should appear kissable at all times. This does not imply that they should actually be kissable at all times. Perhaps for you this means an opaque hot pink that stops men dead in their tracks but might feel quite dry on contact. Maybe it’s a juicy, ombré gloss that would get all over the mouth and chin of your kissing partner, but hey, we are just trying to look hot here. Who cares if it ends up in a hot mess post-makeout sesh? This is precisely why a lady stashes at least two lip options in her bag at all times.
bobbipeony
Cheeks are more versatile than you might think. If you love bronzer, try a burnt sienna for stronger color this season. If you’re open to blush, come join in on the fun. A punchy peony like Bobbi Brown’s, $25, above, is divine on any skin tone. Hot pink might seem scary in the palette but a sweep on each cheek gives instant glam. Try a powder or a stick, applying a small amount at first and layering until you achieve your desired effect.
bottle_serviceNails are the easiest way to introduce color. Anything goes these days, and throwing a few fun hues together always works. Is there a color you’d love to wear in clothing but have always felt is not your best? Orange, bright purple, hot pink? Here’s your moment.
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Nail polish is the universal beauty product and a great way to experiment. Essie’s spring colors are fabulous! Try a pungent peach on all nails but your pinkies, making one of them cerulean and the other fuchsia. Do a DIY French with lavender topped off in lime. And so on. Delicious fingernails remain a fresh and fun way to accessorize your outfit. Let’s play!
Woman Wearing Bright Eyeshadow and Holding Lollipop

Matchers Anonymous

WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party - Arrivals

maria sharapova rocking mixed metals on the red carpet

I recently told a friend that she belongs in Matchers Anonymous, because she suggested going out on a Saturday evening without her wedding and engagement rings–she didn’t want the metal to “clash” with her gold-tone bangle. Ok. We have a situation here!

I actually hate to “match.” I believe that the elements of an outfit should relate to and/or complement each other but matching perfectly is just an unnecessary waste of time in my life. I like surprising details, whimsical bursts of color or pattern that throw the outfit from the predictable into the unique. I don’t try to dress weird, in fact much of my stuff is pretty “trendy” or classic. But I love combining things in interesting ways. Even my bridesmaids are wearing all different styles and colors of dresses. Our groomsmen’s ties bring in yet another color… and the list goes on. But away from the wedding and back to real life, I find asymmetry and a bit of power clashing — or at least a lack of matchy-matchy, quite appealing.

Navy and black? Bring it on. Even before that was the cool thing, I always did it. Do brown shoes require a brown bag? Um. Do they require brown eyes?? I mean, come on. Just wear what looks good together, what bounces off each other. I am not saying one should walk into one’s closet and just throw together any random assembly of items and leave the house… but I do think that matching to a fault can wind up leaving you looking cartoonish and ridiculous.

Case in point: today’s nail color. Now, many of you know that I paint my nails most nights. Last night, coming off a weekend in Miami, I craved bright, girly color. I ended up with a combination of Essie’s Play Date (a bold purple), and Pink Parka (a neon pink). This morning when I was getting ready, feet still swollen from some combination of wine, sleep deprivation, air travel, and possibly shellfish, I was in a pickle.

You see, the high in Dallas today was 90 degrees. That kind of limits one’s ankle-and-foot concealing possibilities. The only solution I could find was to wear a maxi dress, but as you know, I only own one. And as chance would have it, it’s purple and pink. Like my freaking nails. In order to mix things up, I threw on a navy cardigan, but the only flat shoes that my puffy feet would fit into are… you guessed it!

Lavender flats with pale pink Gucci G’s on the toe. So from head, to toe, to the tips of my little fingers… I am a pink and purple mess. Whatever. This outfit is comfortable, chic enough for a fairly slow day at work, and easy to prop my swollen little feet up in. My options were limited and I did what I had to do.

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Of course, you might not be surprised that this morning, when my buddy who has yet to actually join Matchers Anonymous met me by the water cooler, her first words were, “Ooh, your nails match your dress. Love it!”

How to Pull a Lauren Conrad

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do we think LC gave herself this blue-crushworthy ombre mani? maybe!!

I read somewhere that Lauren Conrad (AKA, L.C., to the MTV crowd) paints her nails every single night. What? I scoffed. What kind of a spoiled princess has that kind of time? But as my nails started to experience an unfortunate amount of damage from repeated gel manicures (Hi, my name is Jenny and I am addicted to shellac.), I realized that maybe the girl was on to something.

I’ve always loved doing my own nails. I find it both cathartic and fun. If it’s a busy night and I have to slap some polish on quickly, I go for nudes or creams that won’t show mistakes too easily. If it’s game day and we’re camped out in front of the TV, like last weekend, I’ll go full-on with a five-step mani including a glitter fade comprised of crafting supplies. That one was a hit!

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hint: try glitter. it makes things look so much cleaner.

Now, I still don’t do them every night, but I’m at the point of about every-other. My polish collection is honestly disgusting. It started with a bottle of Chanel my mom gave me when I went off to college and it’s amassed into an entire (large) shelf in our bathroom armoire. And onto the kitchen counter. And a scattering on the side table by the couch. And then there’s the red and the pink I keep in my gym bag just in case.

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i ADORE this essie from last spring, bikini so teeny. looks great every time!

Experimenting with your nails is fun and easy. It’s just like accessorizing in any other way, but it’s pretty damn cheap. So, how do you make them look amazing at home, a la L.C.? Practice is important. The more frequently you do your own nails, the better you’ll become. But here are some of my personal tips for achieving a salon-quality mani on your couch. Or, if you’re like me, in the middle of your living room floor:

1. Moisturize. Just like your skin, your nails crave moisture. Before applying any polish, wash your hands and then dab some eye cream onto each nail. I know it sounds nuts, but I use eye cream for everything. It’s rich and full of nutrients that your nails will soak right up.

2. Invest in a proper base and top coat. The base coat keeps your actual nails protected from the pigment and dyes in the colors you apply. It also evens out the surface of your nail, preventing a bumpy look. A top coat is important for preventing chips and creating a uniformed aesthetic. I like Essie’s Good to Go; it’s super-shiny and dries in a flash, leaving your nails shiny as glass in a few minutes flat.

3. Make like a nail girl–shape, buff and shine! It takes a little extra time, but when you do your own nails, you can’t skip these steps. Filing is great, but get yourself a 6-in-1 or at least a 4-in-1 so you can also shape, smooth, buff and get those nails to a shine! These are easy to find for under five bucks at any drug store.

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this took a while (and some craft glue, not pictured) but was worth it.

4. Take your time. Paint slowly, and allow a full five minutes to pass between applying each coat. The more time you give yourself to apply the polish, the better it will look. And the longer each coat dries, the less likely you’ll be to smudge it later.

5. Have fun! Nail trends run the gamut these days from flair nails and glitter to ombre, rainbow brites and nudes. Whatever you fancy in a magazine, give it a whirl at home. You might just be surprised by your own chic talons… and I guarantee, your friends will be thinking, “What kind of spoiled princess has that kind of time?”

Well, you do, now. Because you decided to make it for yourself.

Un-Manic Manicure

I stopped dead while flipping through a mag recently, upon discovering the ad for Tom Ford’s latest beauty collection. It wasn’t the gorgeous face (those are everywhere!) but the simply (and I really mean simply) amazing manicure featured on the page.

main1_021813I mean, is that not just so striking in its neutral simplicity? So elegant, feminine and strong at once? We’ve all had our Ballet Slippers and other bare and creamy Essie moments, but a nude this gorgeous is something I haven’t come across before. I became obsessed.

Unfortunately, I initially decided that on a bridal budget I don’t have much of an excuse to shell out $30 for a bottle of polish right now. But if you do, please hop over to Nordstrom right now and buy yourself a bottle of Toasted Sugar. I hunted the racks and was unable to find a suitable replacement. So, scratch what I said above. I now plan to buy the polish when my next paycheck lands. In the meantime though, I’m being tided over by Essie’s Sand Tropez, which is much paler than the Tom Ford but a truly delightful beige. Have you found one you love?

For more inspiration on getting nude nails right, check out the glorious article in this month’s Vogue. Eva Chen takes the reader on a wild ride from New York Fashion Week to China, focused on those subtly sexy, sheerly brilliant new nudes.

Dots and Hard Hats and Chains, Oh My!

Hanging out on Pinterest yesterday, I stumbled across this awesome image of a hard-hatted nail among chic polka-dotted friends. Wow! Sometimes you think you’ve seen all the nail innovations they could possibly invent, but then you see something like this and realize that the world of manicures is ever-evolving. Happy girl front and center!

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I haven’t yet found this cool device for purchase, but the moment I do, it’s mine! In the meantime, did you know that polka dotted nails are actually super-easy? I’ve done them myself multiple times and received scores of compliments. One favorite is to paint your nails with two coats of a matte polish, let it dry, and then dab glossy top coat sporadically to create a textured polka-dot look.430781_514433158597400_800136305_n

If you want to get really fancy, you can invest in a nail art pen. Many are around $10 at drug stores. These allow you to be very precise with your dots. I’d start with white (which looks great against pastels, neons, and dark tones) and then branch out once you’ve proven to yourself that you’ll actually use the thing. Feeling more adventurous? Try pale pink with blue dots or bold green with orange dots. The options are limitless. Have fun!

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I mean, why not?

At Least I Have My Nails

I have been a busy girl. There is no denying it! Joshy and I are on a crazy wedding diet that requires all our meals to be made at home. Who’s the short order cook around here? You’re looking at her. Add to that the work, the work outside the work, the personal work, the housework and of course working on the wedding… what do you get?

A very overtired, often grumpy, hopefully thinner, Me.

Enough complaining. I will share with you my absolute favorite thing about Dallas. In this over-the-top, beauty-obsessed land of the lovely, there is always a manicure place open for business. And unlike in New York (love you, home state, but really) they are all immaculately clean and you rarely have to wait. Okay, now the best part? Chardonnay and Miller Lite are in the fridge and ready for the sipping. Or chugging, as the mood may require.

I have switched almost entirely to gel polish (AKA shellac) manicures because there is a different removal method down here that allows your nails to breathe and doesn’t require that abrasive filing that happens up North, damaging the nails. Instead, they just continue to grow longer and stronger with every passing shellaced week. And to be in and out with a gorgeous pedicure and flawless gel polish mani plus wine and a shoulder massage for $70 in under an hour? I’m sold, baby.

Here are my favorites:

Ultra-glittery gold was a hit. In the right light, it looked almost pink. This was a great choice.

It was my birthday and I was craving an old favorite — Riviera by Chanel. I had her use it in between the shellac base and top coats. Worked like a charm!

My roommate in college posted a sign on our door Day Two saying “Warning: Pink Overload Ahead.” She would be laughing now… some things never change. I like this one a lot, with a bit of sparkle on the bling finger.

Not the greatest photo, but I had to include. This is the man-approved one. OPI’s “Big Apple Red” makes men weak in the knees. Just try it. You’ll see.

One week after getting your gel mani, soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol (the purest you can get, 95% is good) and wipe each nail. This will keep the color from dulling and give it that ultra-shiny finish it had on Day One.

The moral? It is always a good time to treat yourself. Work can be crushing and relationships can be hard. Friendships can suffer and diets totally suck. But even on your darkest day, there is nothing so pleasant at glancing down at your lovely nails and knowing that one thing is always intact. I may not have it all, all the time, but at least I have my nails.

Killer Color Combo

Ever the nail freak, I have become particularly obsessed with keeping them looking elegant and well manicured at all times now that I have a ring on my finger! But no busy girl on a bridal budget can get them done professionally every week, so I’ve been doing a lot of home maintenance these past couple of weeks.

Pretty cute, right? Polishes are $8 a bottle at essie.com.

While sorting through the always-growing polish collection, I came upon two hues that really work together. Funky enough for this glitter girl, but not too loud as to disrespect my engagement ring. A lady has to think about these things, right? So, Essie once again… “To Buy or not to Buy” — two coats, followed by a coat of “Shine of the Times.”

Wonder Woman Manicure

Not a super hero? Learn how to fake it.

I went into my local nail salon for a straight-up manicure and selected Essie’s “To Buy or Not to Buy.” For some reason I was expecting it to be a little more sparkly than it turned out. I was bummed. My manicurist totally got it — like me, she is a sucker for anything glitzy and over the top. We thought about applying a glittery topcoat to all of the nails, but she wanted to do something different and special.

She pulled from her arsenal an opaque slate glitter polish that I immediately deemed way too dark. She told me to shh and trust the expert. My goodness! When a beautiful Russian salon owner who loves glitter tells you to shh and trust her, you shut up and do it. Right?

The result was this ridiculously fly mani with one little diagonal swipe of girl power silver across each ring finger. I might be missing a certain sparkly something on this finger, but for the time being, a swipe of Wonder Woman-esque polish will do. What do you think?