Sep 29, 2011

Creative Costuming 2011: Simply the Best

How did you guys like my last ideas for costumes? Apparently people on Polyvore are imbeciles because they had no idea what the heck "Bennie and the Jets" was. Ummmm WHO DOESN'T KNOW THAT? Have they not heard of Elton John? Or at least seen 27 Dresses? It's a travesty upon mankind.

Obviously I have a void that needs to be filled by reader satisfaction and appreciation, so I'm going to pump out more costumes throughout the month. Hope you all decide to partake in one.

Disclaimer: I fully intend on busting out this costume, so none of my immediate friends can partake. Sorry! Unless you live in another state... in which case send me photos! :) Again, the general theme of these outfits? Look cute, have fun, enhance your wardrobe. Except the Heisman. That's just thebomb.com.

Tina Turner
Tina Turner Halloween Costume




1. You can't be Tina without ample leg and that hair. This wig costs $24.99 and will be a fun addition to the costume. 2. Known for her style, go for her red fringe look with this ombre fringe dress from Asos, $101.00. 3. The legend herself! 4. Wolford Nylon Tights are a must. They're $30, however, they're what make all the stars' legs look shiny and flawless. Beyonce uses these as well as Gaga. Plus it will help keep you warm if it's a cold Halloween where you're at! 5. Find a pair of sparkly shoes. Splurge or save, doesn't matter -- they'll be a great addition to your closet. 6. Feather earrings fro Dorothy Perkins, $12.00. 7. If you don't want to wear the nylon tights, make legs stand out with LaLicous' Body Oil. I swear by this stuff! It smells delicious, isn't (too) greasy and gives legs a nice sheen, like Carrie Underwood. 8. Finish off the look with a bold red lip. Nars makes a great lip pencil that's matte and the perfect shade of red.

Pan Am stewardess

Pan Am Halloween costume



1. First and foremost, find a blue blazer. Blazers are everyone's fave because they dress up outfits and clearly make you look professional, even if you're a hot ass mess. Here are a few options that range from retro to modern, expensive to bank account friendly. 2. Create a twist on the classic outfit. Instead of using a skirt, use a dress! This one is comfortable, relatively cheap and is a great staple item that you can mix and match with other garments in your closet. $55.00 from Dorothy Perkins. 3.  ... Or, go with a classic pencil skirt. Wear it to your costume party, then bust it out for the office! $33.00 at ASOS. 4. The Pan Am ladies have white included on their collars. Instead of ruining a blazer, just wear this white blouse underneath and pull the collar above the blazer's. 5. Gloves are a must. It creates the glamour in the outfit. $2.40 on Amazon.com. 6. How are you to stay chic in the sky without all your necessary travel garments and makeup? Pan Am bag, $58.00 at Voguette.com. 7. The stewardesses of that day have beautiful hats. You can go with a pillbox hat, a la Jackie O., or find one of these originals online. This is the most essential part of the outfit; if you don't have it, people will ask you if you're on your way to a luncheon. 8. If you have long hair, curl it with a 2'' barrel ceramic iron toward your neck to create the vintage look, or go with a short bob like Christina Ricci. $10.00 at CostumeStore.com.

"I sent you to Vegas with a pocket full of paper..."

Those are the lyrics that were first spout from the mouth of our instructor. It was a tough crowd to say the least. I had sped from The Thompson in Beverly Hills after working David Beckham's cologne launch (he's even better looking in person, ladies) to my beloved Zumba class, a class I once loathed, yet was determined to try something "new," so stuck with it.

An acquiantance on Twitter, Whitney, puts Zumba into perspective: "I feel like an outcast at a Quinceanera." And how, Whit. Because that's exactly how I felt this first time. A majority of my class was at least a bit Latin or if anything, Mexican, and understood the moves without having to be shown even once. The Caucasians in the house (myself excluded) had apparently been dancing for Ricky Martin the past 13 years -- or at least that's how it seemed -- and I was the stereotypical white chick without any Latin groove at all.

Most people know me as the girl who will dance like she's drunk, sober. Or, the girl who will bust out full-on choreography while beligerantly drunk. Doesn't matter where (the bar, the street, the office) or to who (Beyonce, *NSYNC, Katy Perry, Britney Spears), but I love to dance. It is my passion (Italian accent), however I'm pretty much a scaredy cat when it comes to joining a legit dance crew or anything, because I don't take instruction very well. I have to just do things over and over before I get it.

This was my initial fear with Zumba. But once you stop being fearful and start enjoying the class for its aerobic benefits, you actually pick up on the moves and become decent. I would go as far as to say  I am now "good," if not "great" at Zumba, and I attribute this to my endless days of learning Britney & *NSYNC choreography from my VHS player. The instructor even moved me up to the front of the class. So having this new so-called confidence to hang on to, I enthusiastically haul ass to the gym on Monday nights in order to partake in some salsa, rumba and even some conga.

Except this Monday. It's 7:05 and the full class of (mostly) women are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our instuctor, Elony, who always shows up early, with flat feet (perfect for any Latin dance) and full-on Zumba garb. Then walks in a tall blonde guy, in skinny jeans, Creative Recs and hair that rivals Zac Morris.

"Hey guys. Sorry, your instructor is not coming today... but I am here!"
(Cheers ensue)
"Except today... we're doing something different. I'm teaching you all hip hop."

Cheers cease. Anxious smiles turn into frowns. The terror in the room is thick enough to cut with a knife. Based on the ghastly reactions, you would have thought that he told us we were all about to be massacred, our puppy died, we were going to be sold into sexual slavery... any of those options could have been the case, given the absolute dread and anguish being projected in the room.

Myself and a few other girls, who probably were on drill team or were cheerleaders, seemed more enthusiatic than most. I mean, what the hell. Why not? I had always wanted to try the Hip Hop class but was too nervous to partake for fear all the other participants would be legitimate, professional dancers just looking to break a quick sweat for 50 minutes; I can't stand losing at anything, and I was not about to be the loser of the bunch. So this would be a painless way to dust off the old dancing shoes and see if I could remember choreography as well as I once had.

He went slow in the beginning and we figured out quickly we were learning a Britney dance. Score. Most of the class tried it out at first, but slowly a couple handfuls started to trickle away. Some people were pissed, shaking their heads in disappointment. Otherwise would laugh it off and retreat to the Stairmaster. But we forged ahead and learned a solid 40 count of choreography before performing it for half the class in groups, and needless to say even the older Latina women got into it. We were booty poppin' like we needed the money and sweating like Casey Anthony in court. By the way, I don't know how strippers don't sweat bullets. Not like I've witnessed a stripper for myself, but if you are popping you booty that long and that fast... one would be inclined to believe that sweating would occur. My entire derriere area still feels numb.

Moral of this story? Try something that scares you. Every person in the room benefited last night -- we all worked up a sweat, we learned a new dance, and some women even conquered their fear of dancing in front of other human beings. It was a win-win. Maybe I'll try the advanced class next time and really try to be en fuego. And maybe I won't be as butt-hurt by then.

Sep 27, 2011

Review: Violent Lips tattoos


I had to return a product to Sephora and I stumbled upon Violent Lips lip tattoos in the $20 and under station, right before checkout. I was intrigued. I'm well aware of the adhesive strips for your nails, but what in the Sam Hill is a lip tattoo? How does that even work? 

So I bought a pack. Three come together and you can pick anything from sparkly red to pink leopard print. I opted for the red because hey, maybe they'd work and maybe I'd start using them for fancy nights out.

Nobody has lips like this. Except Bozo.

Here's the deal: you punch them out of their paper holder and then have to cut them to your lips. They recommend you make an "O" face. (Not my terms -- theirs.) You cut them to the natural curve of your lips, which, I found to be quite difficult. They are formed similar to those wax lips you used to get as a kid -- nowhere near real lips. So you cut and cut and cut some more, and then you have to adhere them. 

I am not waxing my lip... promise

So again, make the "O" face, remove the plastic and stick the sticky side to your lip. Get a cotton swab wet and press against the paper backing for 60 seconds, then peel away. At this point, the tattoo should be placed perfectly, however, I had issues. It was still too long, even after I cut it, so it clumped up in certain spots. You can smooth it out with the wet cotton swab, but it still makes it too long at the edges, so carefully cut the loose ends off without requiring an unplanned trip to the ER.

I should apply for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills #deflatedlips

I think with practice, it makes perfect. They look pretty, however felt weird. I looked like one of those women who got too many collagen injections in her lips, making them look kind of haggard and deflated. All in all, they'd be fun for a Halloween or costume party, but go with standard lipstick for a big event or a night out on the town.

Getting them off proved to be a lesson in trial and error, given they say you need baby or mineral oil, neither of which I have on hand. There was a lot of pain and rubbing involved... get your minds out of the gutter.

Here are some photos where I played with some photo effects!


MY LIPS ARE COMING OFF! PSYCH!
Kind of cool, kind of creepy... perf for Halloween?

Not doing kissy face on purpose. Had to do this to keep the
top lip from touching the bottom while it dried.

They look okay here... if I don't move my mouth... at all

Once you peel them off, you can do the Winifred Sanderson lips!




Sep 26, 2011

Answer bag: This or that?

Time for another rendition of Answer Bag!

Jennifer writes:
"Hello I myself have a passion for beauty. But never truly had the opportunity to fulfill my dreams in it yet. But I figured I would come to you for this question. Seeing that you have tried many products... I am struggling with my skin and in finding the perfect skin care regimen and line..if there is such a thing.

I am torn between 2 lines... the Arcona and the Kate Somerville.. Just wondering what your thought and input would be on this.  I would really appreciate it."

Well, I know a lot about both lines and enjoy both, full-heartedly. The fact of the matter is that sometimes mix and matching products can produce a greater benefit than using one line alone, because it can target different issues you are having. For instance, I probably go through 20 products in a week. Let's be clear though -- I don't use all those products in one day. There is such a thing as overload, people!

I'm kind of OCD about washing my face. Sue me. However, sometimes beauty products can scare away consumers because there are too many choices. Here's an easy way to look at it: washing your face at night is much like doing your laundry. You rinse, then wash; soften and dry.

Rinse: Removing makeup or impurities from the environment with a non-resuable facial tissue or a mild cleanser.
Wash: If you've acne prone, this where where your acne cleansers come into play. Don't overdo it with the exfoliants.
Soften: Apply moisturizer after you cleanse the skin to keep it supple and hydrated.
Dry: Dry out blemishes with a salicylic acne spot treatment or with a drying cream.

In between a daily routine, sometimes you need to scrub out stains (exfoliant) or steam-dry (peels, facials, etc.). But for the most part, you can get a lot of of a daily regimen if you use the right products for your skin type.

Here is an example of what I do on a normal day:

Morning Cleanse Ritual




Morning
I buff my face every morning with a facial loofah I bought for $3.00 at a beauty store in the shower. It's not harsh on the skin but exfoliates dead cells off when necessary. A Clarisonic skincare brush is another viable option, but mine (unfortunately) ended it's life a few months ago. I use a mild facial shampoo without any acne products in it just to clean and prep the face while exfoliating witht the buff. Then I apply a SPF 30 to protect my skin and add a moisturizer on top, such as Arcona's Magic White Ice. I absolutely love it because it's a serum and makes my skin matte, even after applying sunscreen.

Nightly Beauty cycle




Night
I remove makeup with first Neutrogena's Oil-Free Fresh Foaming Cleanser, which removes a majority of the makeup, then I do a clean sweep with their pre-moistened makeup removing cloths to make sure I get all my mascara and eyeliner. Again, I wash with an acne cleanser. I alternate between Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash (the green one), Proactiv Solution, and Clinical Formula's Pumace Cleanser. I usually stick to Neutrogena since it doesn't have any exfoliants in it and I'm not trying to strip my skin of all its oil, however, once or twice a week I'll use the Proactiv or the Pumace Cleanser.

I moisturize at night with First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Cream, which is paraben-free and highly hydrating. It's perfect since I'll use Clean & Clear's Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment on specific spot areas or a dermatologist prescribed retinoid to held keep my cell-turnover high. I'll alternate the Clean & Clear with Mario Basescu's Drying Cream with eliminates blemishes overnight. I don't use these products all the time, however -- only when they're needed.

The hydrator makes sure my skin isn't dried out from the acne products, and I try to not use them every night because the treatments can dry out skin and overproduce oil, which in turn creates more acne.

Kate & Arcona

Kate & Arcona by kirbiej on Polyvore.com






So, now that you see it's okay to veer away from the norm and use a bunch of different products, let's talk about Kate Somerville and Acrona. Jennifer mentioned to me that she doesn't have problem areas, but that she's worried about hyperpigmentation, aging and red spots post-acne.  With these issues, I am obligated to mention that you need to wear at least an SPF 30 every day underneat moisturizers and makeup. When it comes to fighting hyperpigmentation, the issue is that the dermis cells that you readily see are pigmented darker, so you need to remove those. You can get a professional grade peel to help instantly create an even tone (but be prepared for sunburn-ish peeling), or you can gradually work on eliminating the problem with at-home products -- Arcona & Kate both have alternatives.

Arcona is a great natural line of products, and Kate is known worldwide for making celebrities glow before the Oscars with her facials. So both lines are comprable to one another and are great quality.

I personally love Kate's Exfolikate, because it's a super exfoliant for sensitive skin. It's not grainy but very smooth, yet still removes any rough patches or dead skin. It doesn't feel like sandpaper and won't cut your skin like some exfoliants will. You don't use this product every day, but maybe once or twice a week to lift impurities.

As far as hyperpigmentation, Arcona's Raspberry Resurfacing Peel is helpful in repairing damage from sun exposure, but also minimizes pores, improves skin tone, and creates skin with better texture, firmness and density. Use it once a week after removing makeup. You gradually build up with this peel, so start with a five minute application and then increase time each week. Remove the peel with the hydrating Triad Pads, and follow with a moisturizer (like the Magic White Ice). Pick up the Winter Repair Kit which includes both the peel, Triad Pads for instant hydration, and a Peptide Serum or complete moisturization (now $45 instead of $85).

Hope that helps, Jennifer! Good luck and remember, less is always more when it comes to skin products (unless it's sunscreen)!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Email kirbiej@gmail.com for product recommendations or story ideas!


Sep 20, 2011

Creative Halloween Costuming 2011

When it comes to Halloween, I hate doing the typical skank-tastic look that most women are rocking. The unfortunate part of this glorious holiday is that you have females sliding themselves into pleather pants, toting chains and whips in barely-there ensembles that would be better left for the bedroom -- and even then it might be a bad idea.

I like fun and creative ideas. Trust me, I've had my fair share of crappy costumes. One year I was Barbie, another I was a boxer (totally did the midriff revealing costume). Ugh. So tragic. My favorite costumes are always the creative ones.

Last year I was a USO Girl. This isn't necessarily the most creative idea ever, but it was cute and I made everything out of vintage finds and a pair of American Apparel hot pants. It cost me less than $20 but it was still fun and sexy, and I didn't risk any exposed nipples!

Two years ago I was Lady Gaga. This was a far cry beyond the Lady Gaga madness that ensued last year. In fact, so many people were not dressed as Gaga, that a) people had no idea who I was and b) some people thought I was a legimiate street walker. I have to frown at these people because if you knew Gaga at that point, you knew she had the hairbow, the leotard and the platinum blonde hair down -- stat. By the end of the night the lightning bolt I had drawn on my face looked more like a black eye; my hair a disheveled mess and my hairbow completely torn to shreds. I will spare you a photo, however, if you're my Facebook friend, you can easily find some.

As a kid, my mom would dress me up as bugs. I don't get why, but they were probably the cutest outfits ever. Check me out as a caterpillar:



I was also a ladybug once. Insects for life!

Speaking of nostalgia and my childhood, I went home for Labor Day and had to go through all my childhood belongings since my parents are selling the house and becoming full-time gypsies. Seriously, ask them what they're doing. They have no idea. "Maybe we'll move _______." I suggested Fort Worth (for obvious TCU reasons) but they mentioned buying a Mercedes RV and traveling the country. I did not know Mercedes RVs even existed. In fact, I don't think they do. At least not legit RVs. Back to the point -- we had to go through all of my old crap. I'm talking approximately 5,000 *NSYNC photos and magazines, baby photos and albums, old Halloween costumes. It became strikingly apparent that I did not need Halloween to dress up. Exhibits A-E:

Permed hair. Minnie Mouse. A festive occasion.

Apparently it was "Do your own hair & makeup" day.
Don't my feet look gigantic?

Minnie love affair continues.

Let me take a second to point something out. Not only am I creating this beautiful work of art for my mother, I'm writing "Mommy Happy Birthday" on it. It might not be the most grammatically correct (perhaps there is a comma in there somewhere), but that's love, friends. I also would write my mom things to show my affections and one even got posted in the Georgetown newspaper for Mother's Day. It started off, "To my preshis (sic) mom."
I just can't. Why I was using the term "precious" in first grade is beyond me, but let's face it, I was destined to write. And kiss ass. One or the other.

so dramatic


This was my "pretty girl" face

Another note -- my mom's younger sister, Bonnie, had the pleasure of taking care of me while my mom was at work. She obviously put this time to good use and decided to have me partake in dramatic and somewhat concerning photo shoots. I don't even know where I got that face with the cape. Where does that even come from?

Well, that walk down memory lane was fantastic. Since Halloween is my favorite and all, I got to thinking about some super costume ideas, and here are some I came up with:

Rock 'n Roll
I did this for a theme party my senior year and it was my favorite costume ever, mostly because it took 30 minutes and I got to wear leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt underneath.
You can make the entire thing if you have craft skills (I did not but did it anyway). If you use felt, it's sturdy and holds up all night; then you can simply trash it if you don't want it anymore.
Lindsey got an obscene amount of grey felt, cut a hole for her head (v-neck, natch) and tied the damn thing with a ribbon. Looks like felt couture. I, on the otherhand went the overalls route and stapled myself into this contraption. It was a pretty aggressive costume to say the least. Probably stronger than a chastity belt.


Bennie and the Jets
I don't know how you'll get a squadron of football players, but I assume a boyfriend and his friends could be put to good use. Make them all wear Jets jerseys. As Bennie de jour, you'll need:
    • Something with mohair (if you want to stick to the song lyrics) -- you can go uber cheap or find a signature piece to last your wardrobe a lifetime
    • A few good men to dress up as Mark Sanchez
    • "Electric" blue boot(ie)s -- any kind you fancy
    • Signature round sunglasses with colored lenses
Bennie and the Jets -- Halloween Inspiration




When I envision Bennie, she's cool, collected and kind of whack. She has a weird sense of style, might be on drugs, but she's pretty. That's what I kept in mind while picking out items for the costume.

The best part is that, if you wish, you can really find some great pieces for your closet. The 80s mohair jumper is a nice vintage piece; the American Apparel nylon leggings will go with anything this fall and winter, and the booties are a bright addition to any outfit. Or, take a fringe dress or vintage Elton John concert tee, place it under a mohair vest and call it a day. I also feel like Bennie might have been a chain smoker so grab a fake ciggie and get ready to treat the world to a fun and unique costume. (By clicking on the collection, you can find where to buy these items.)


Heisman Trophy
Men and women alike will get a kick out of this! All the accessories for this costume are under $20.00, including the face and body paint, which will be essential to the entire look. The "vintage" football helmet might be flimsy but I doubt anyone wants to buy a legit helmet and ruin it.

Heisman Trophy



  • Purchase a pair of gold, bronze or copper leggings. I'd go with something that has a sheen and veers to the darker side, so perhaps bronze or copper would work better. American Apparel is your best bet, unless you shop online.
  • You'll need a long-sleeve tee. It doesn't matter if it's cotton or whatever, but make sure it's white. I prefer Nike Dry Fit and Under Armour shirts because they're super comfy. Also, you can purchase the vintage Football helmet for $7.99 online and find a football at your local sporting goods store, Wal Mart or Target.
  • All of the aforementioned items need to be gold/copper/bronze -- or whatever best matches your leggings. If you're a male, feel free to use actual football pants. Regardless of who you are, you'll be spray painting these items with spray paint, so be sure it's nothing you cherish.
  • I don't need to say this but I will -- spray paint everything a few days before, then wash and dry your clothing items, and  reapply some paint if needed. This will make them more comfortable to wear.
  • The most important aspect of this costume will be your face and body paint. Any piece of skin leftover that's showing will need to be painted, and the metallic paint featured is only $12.99.
  • Knee socks! If you look up vintage football uniforms, you'll get a better feel for how they looked during that time.
  • As far as shoes, anything goes. You don't need to buy kleats, especially since they need to be gold. So unless you have a pair of those laying around, go to the nearest discount store and buy a pair of white tennis shoes that you don't mind spraypainting, throw on a pair of metallic gold TOMs or a pair of boots (in gold, brown, whatever) and call it a day.
  • Spend the entire night doing "The Heisman" in photos and hope you run into Reggie Bush at a USC Halloween mixer.


More ideas to come! If you have any comments, leave one, or email me suggestions at kirbiej@gmail.com.


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