Archives for February 2012

How to do an Easy Fishtail Braid

I’ve had requests from people asking how to do a fishtail braid, which is actually a lot easier than it looks. So I thought I would share this with everyone to let you know it’s really not as scary as it looks. Anyone can do it, I promise! Ok, I take that back…I guess you wouldn’t be able to do this braid if your hair was two inches long, but you get what I mean!

A fishtail braid is a bit of a twist on the more traditional braid, and is something that’s definitely in style right now. It’s called “fish tail” because it mimics the look of just that…a fishes backbone/tail. It gives you an effortless, easy breezy vibe, boho chic look, or can even be paired with cocktail attire as a way to do a pulled back ‘do. The beauty of it is that it’s playfully messy, so it’s okay if it’s not perfect. In fact, it actually looks better if it’s not. Here’s a Celebrity inspiration picture.

Dianna Agron from Glee rocks a pretty fishtail braid.

Here’s a close up of this braid….

Ok, not going to lie — the method of this braid is A LOT easier than it looks, but it also takes a bit of practice to get the handling of the hair down. I’m right handed, so for me it’s easiest to braid over my right shoulder. I mention a lot of tips and tricks in my video as I’m braiding, so if you have time you should watch the whole thing to answer any questions you may have. If you need a quicker “how-to,” then feel free to fast-forward a bit…won’t hurt my feelings! 🙂

EASY FISHTAIL BRAID TUTORIAL

I also took slightly bigger chunks of hair when braiding for time sake (the bigger the chunks, the faster the braid), but you do see more of a “fishtail effect” if you take about half the size of the hair chunks to braid (also taking double the amount of time).

Doing a solo braid to one side is a quick way to get a fun hairstyle, and now that you’ve learned the method from my video feel free to get even more creative with fishtail braids! Like this!

Singer Aubrey O'Day does a boho chic look with a fishtail braid and tossled down 'do.

Kim Kardashian uses fishtail braids to update pig tails.

 

I would love to see your variation of a fishtail braid. Send me a pic or tweet it to me @mystyletrials!


The Secret to a Cheap, Easy French Manicure!

I used to think press-on nails were tacky. Something that was only acceptable for a little girl playing “dress up,” or something that would result in Freddy Krueger looking long, pointy nails. That is, until I saw a friend with a beautiful, natural looking french manicure (press-on artificial nails, no kidding!) and became obsessed. That was about 5 years ago, and I’ve been using them ever since. I’m telling you, the modern press-on nail is nowhere near where it used to be and is one of my tried and true little secrets. If you are looking for a quick, cheap DIY route to beautify your nails and hate the way acrylics tear them up, then this tutorial is for you!

My favorite brands are the Kiss Nails or Broadway Nails, and I always make sure to get the kind that say “Real Short” on the box. That way they are very natural looking, and go just past the tip of your finger. You can usually pick these up at your local drugstore, Walmart, or Target for under $6, and they last 1-2 weeks.

For this example, I’m using the Kiss brand.

Contents include a 2-sided nail file, 28 nails of different sizes (I can usually get two uses per box), a cuticle stick, and nail glue. You’ll want to prep your nails by removing all polish and drying them first, then you can proceed to the steps of applying the Kiss press-on nails.

STEP 1 – Prep and Push Back Cuticles

Push back cuticles with the cuticle stick so you can get the nails glued on as close to the base of the nail as possible. This gives the most natural effect, and helps the nails look better as they grow out.

STEP 2 – Rough Up Surface of Nail and Check Length

Use the nail file to grit up the surface of the nail. This helps the nail/glue to hold better and mani last longer. The blue side is a harsher grit, the pink side a finer grit, so use whichever you prefer. Also, make sure you file the length of your nails short enough so that they don’t poke out from under the press-on nail when applied.

STEP 3 – Select Best Fit Per Nail and Layout

Nails are numbered so that you can figure out which number fits which nail best. Typically the smaller the number, the smaller the press-on nail size.

“Try on” the press-on nail before gluing to figure out the best size per nail. If you can’t find one that is a perfect match, select the closest fit and file edges as necessary to fit your nail better.

Layout your nails from left pinky to left thumb, and right thumb to right pinky. Then you can easily glue on your nails in that order. Here are the sizes I have laid out.

Left pinky to right pinky – 11, 7, 6, 8, 2, 2, 8, 6, 7, 11

STEP 4 – Glue On Nails

Twist off the glue cap, then squeeze glue directly onto your first nail (I’m right handed and like to start with my left pinky). Make sure you put enough glue to cover the surface of the nail, but not too much because you don’t want it to squeeze out on the sides.

Then immediately pick up the corresponding nail, and press on firmly. Hold and press the nail in place for at least 10 seconds until glue has dried. Repeat for all 10 nails.

STEP 5 -Snap Off Number Tabs and Smooth Tab Tip

The tabs come off really easy and pretty clean. Wiggle the tabs back and forth to snap them off. If there is any leftover tab still on the nail, use the pink side of the nail file to gently smooth it down.

VOILA!

And there you go. A beautiful, french manicure in 5 easy steps. Be prepared to receive a lot of compliments, and it’s up to you if you want to share the little secret. 🙂

Again, I’ve used these a lot so I thought I’d share some additional info on these types of press-on artificial nails.

PROS

  • I used to get acrylics at the salon all the time, but that can be expensive, ruin your real nails, and takes a long time to apply. These nails are easy to put on, you can do it yourself in under 5 minutes, and easily pop them off when you want to. Does not mess up your real nails like acrylics!
  • I have a dreadful bad habit of biting my nails. I know…gross, but I can’t help it. I really prefer natural nails the most, and learned I’m better at fighting off the habit if I can grow my real nails long enough to keep them looking good with a mani. These press-on nails act as “shields” for about 2 weeks, allowing me to grow my real nails long enough to actually manicure.
  • I am extremely visual, so I hated when I went to the salon and the white tip for the french part was not exact on every nail, covered too much, one nail was longer then the rest, etc. Of course there’s understandable human error…nobody is perfect! But you can’t really compete when press-on nails are manufactured and every nail matches the next.
  • These nails are low maintenance. No need to paint, they don’t chip, or anything like that. However, you can definitely paint over them if you want, which gives you a nice base to paint. Especially if you’re a nail-biter like me. You can see an example in my ombre nail art tutorial where I paint over artificial nails.

CONS

  • As they are easy to pop off, sometimes they do pop off when you don’t want them to. Make sure you apply with plenty of glue, and you may want to keep the glue in your purse for emergency touch ups. Typically if applied right, they last 1-2 weeks.
  • They don’t mess up your real nails nearly as bad as acrylic ones at the salon, but I have noticed the glue can dry out your real nails a bit. To prevent this, make sure you don’t leave on the press-on nails for too long (2 weeks MAX), and rub cuticle oil into your nails when you remove them.

Have you tried press-on nails before? Let me know in a comment what you think the biggest pro or con is!


Does Your Fav Lipstick Contain High Doses of Lead?

I’ve been hearing a lot of hype about lead and lipstick lately, so I thought I’d quickly share this with my fellow Style Trialers.

Recently, the FDA released a list of 400 popular shades of lipstick that contain higher than the average amount of lead. It’s kind of surprising what lipstick and brands are on the list because I’m pretty sure I’ve owned some. And no, my beloved matte red lipstick is NOT listed. PHEW! You can read more about it and see the full list at the link below.

Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers

Seems they’re saying you should be fine with the amounts of lead currently listed, as long as you use your lipstick as intended and don’t EAT it. And I know a lipstick buffet is every girl’s dream, but don’t do it ladies. In all seriousness, maybe this will push a cap on the amount of lead allowed in a lipstick for safety reasons. You never know. But then again, you never know with a lot of stuff.

Are any of your fav lipsticks on the list here?


Valentine’s Day – What to Wear? Perfect Vday Looks!

Valentine’s Day is sneaking around the corner, and you may find yourself wondering last minute what to wear. Here’s a few suggestions.

WHAT TO WEAR FOR YOUR PERFECT VALENTINE

Well obviously this ties into whatever activity you’re doing to celebrate, but let’s just say you’re going to a nice dinner or out somewhere with your significant other. Valentine’s Day is obviously associated with the color red, however you could definitely pull off a look wearing another romantic color such as purple or pink. If you’re not a “color” person, then opt for something classy and neutral, then add a touch of sparkle through accessories and matte red lips to glam up the evening. I tend to be a chameleon when it comes to style, but for something like anniversaries and Vday, I like to remind him of my girly, sparkly, ruffly side. 🙂

Look 1

Here’s an example of a cool, Valentine’s Day outfit for the modern girl. It could work for a range of Vday activities; the pants make it more casual, yet the heels and sequin top definitely kick up the “dressy” factor. Basically, it’s a great option for pretty much any date night, and it’s comprised of separates you can mix/match and wear again.

1. Pants Express Mars Red Slim Ponte Knit Pant

2. Top Express Vintage Pink Crochet & Sequin Tank

3. Heels Steve Madden Blush Traisie Pumps

4. Ring Mod Cloth heart ring

5. Nail Polish OPI color Hearts & Tarts

Look 2

Here’s a second look that’s more sweet and romantic with a vintage inspiration. This is more of the style I would wear for Vday, and I actually wore these exact heels for my wedding (but in blue as my something blue)! LOVE them, but they are an investment piece because they’re designer Badgley Mischka. You could definitely find some less expensive but similar options at places like DSW.

1. Dress Mod Cloth Peachy Pink Lace Dress

2. Earrings Mod Cloth Pearl Bow Earrings

3. Nail Polish OPI Significant Other Color

4. Heels Badgley Mischka White Randall Pump

If you’ve been with your significant other for awhile, another suggestion could be to add in a nostalgic piece, something that’s special to the two of you. Perhaps that piece of fancy jewelry he bought you years ago but you rarely have the occasion to wear it? Me, I was thinking about re-wearing either some of my wedding jewelry he bought me or wedding hair clips (depending on where we’re going). I recently got married, and I’m itching to find an excuse to re-wear my stuff! It’s a fun way to add a little more meaning to the night.

What are your Vday plans? Which Valentine Style fits you best — Look 1 or Look 2?


Quest for Nerdy Chic, Trendy Hipster Glasses

I have horrible eyesight and had to get glasses when I was 10 years old. By age 12, I was wearing contacts. I still had glasses as a backup option, and started with these ginormous ones that reminded me something of Ralphie’s from “A Christmas Story.”

Well, eventually I upgraded to new, smaller rectangular wire frames, and those glasses went through a lot! One of the lenses relentlessly kept popping out, and they must of gotten accidentally sat on at least three times. Still, I only wore them occasionally at night when my contacts would dry out, but really needed to give my poor eyes a break. I would fall asleep in my contacts too — not good!

I decided I needed new frames, and started noticing the thicker, all plastic frames were back in style. I wanted something I would actually wear in public that enhanced my look, and I was really digging the nerdy chic/hipster trend. I decided to start my hunt and found my inspiration here…..

Anne Hathaway looking so adorkable in her glasses!

I love how Anne Hathaway’s glasses are over-sized, square, and tortoise colored. I found this AWESOME online optical company called Warby Parker. They specialize in affordable, trendy vintage looking glasses, and I love that all of their frames (complete with lenses that already have scratch-resistant coating) are a flat $95! Much cheaper than going to a boutique optical store even with my insurance. Plus, for every pair they sell, they give a pair to someone in need!

Example of some of the eyeglass styles Warby Parker carries.

What really sets them aside from other online eyeglass companies is their at-home try on feature. You can actually order up to 5 pairs at a time to try on at your home. They’ll ship the frames to you for free, and you ship back for free too. AMAZING. This was great, because I wanted to see exactly how the frames looked in person and fit my face. Checkout this video here which really tells more of their story and how that at-home try on works.

I actually did the at-home try on about 3 times, because there are so many good ones to choose from. As I was in the middle of conquering that quest, somewhere along the way I watched the movie “Our Idiot Brother.” Movie was eh ok, but I ended up falling in love with the glasses Janet Montgomery wears in the movie  (ah, I’m so easily swayed). Here was my new inspiration. I thought it achieved the look I wanted, but in a more delicate way so that it was something I could wear everyday.

 

 I dug around, and although I’m not entirely sure, I think she’s wearing Ray Bans. Regardless, I found a great new release Ray Ban frame that is at least very similar to Janet’s, and comes in 5 different color combos. Style RB5241 is the style number, and I chose color 5074 which is a dark tortoise with purple trim.

I will  still probably get one of these pairs of Women’s Warby Parker glasses sometime soon. I really do think they’re a great company with great options and benefits, plus I would love to get another fun pair as I’ve been wearing mine a lot!

So my question to you is, what do you think???

Do you own a pair of eyeglasses that you love? Do you think I chose the right frame, or what’s your fav Warby Parker style? Let me know in a comment!


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