5 tips that might change your life

[Subtitle: 5 Things You Probably Already Know About That I’m Just Catching On To]

1. Coconut oil for everything

Coconut oil is my new favorite everything product.  I can’t even call it a beauty product because it does more than just beauty stuff, but mostly I love it for its face and body capabilities.  I use this coconut oil on dry hair as a hair mask (then wash it out), on my body as a lotion after a shower, as an eye/face makeup remover (remove your contacts first), as a shaving cream, for dry hands, rashes, sunburn, etc. Oh, you can cook with it too! Need more info about coconut oil?  This lady found 101 uses for it and here are 28 science-verified health benefits of coconut oil.

2. Baby powder for everything else

For anything that doesn’t need to be greased up, this organic baby powder is your answer.  It works in place of dry shampoo (even in dark hair, just use sparingly and brush through), for sweaty armpits, sweaty feet, to get sand off of your body at the beach, and that’s probably about it.  I do love it as a dry shampoo though.

3. Bobby pins go crinkled side down

I told this to a girlfriend recently and she gave me an embarrassed look and said, “OMG am I the only woman on Earth who never knew this and everyone is laughing at the pointy parts of my booby pins sticking up?!”  The answer is no, I’m the only one laughing, which is why I’m telling you now.

The crinkled side and bent part of the booby pin are designed to go down, toward your scalp.  The crinkles are supposed to keep the pins from slipping, ersomething.  Try it, it works.  Kate, the hair guru, even said so.

4. Lipstick doubles as blush

Especially after a long day of work when you’re looking particularly haggard and need to meet friends for Happy Hour.  Rub some lipstick on your pointer finger to heat it up and then rub it onto your cheeks.  It’s much more dignified than swiping lipstick on like war paint, which also totally works.

5. Contact lens containers for travel

I have a love/hate relationship with rules.  I love to follow them but I hate stupid rules that are enacted because one idiot decided he wanted to wreak havoc on the airlines.  I refuse to check my luggage if I’m just traveling for a few days and think buying mini airline sized containers for my lotions and potions is a rip off.

Instead I use contact lens cases (most bottles of solution come with a free case) for my face lotion, hair serum, and any other small quantity of liquid or gel that you need some of but less than 3 oz of on a short trip.  Label with a sharpie on the top or bottom of the case.  Toss at the end of your trip when your quantity is used up and voila, less to bring home!

Have these changed your life yet?

what to wear to a professional convention

Tomorrow I’m headed out to Atlantic City for the New Jersey State Bar Association annual convention.  I started attending legal conventions last year and this one will be my third (my fourth will be in San Francisco for the American Bar Association in August!).  Conventions and professional conferences are great for networking for business contacts, future employment, and for making friends.  You never know who you’ll meet!  I met one of my best friends in New Jersey at last years NJ convention and the people I went skiing with when I tore my ACL are friend I met at conference in Nashville!  
For my first convention I had no idea where to start with packing:  Would I need to wear a full business suit?   Are dresses ok?  What about flat shoes?  If you’re in a conservative industry (legal, accounting, finance, teaching, etc.) then here are some ideas that might help you.  Short answer: no suit needed.
1. WEAR WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL CONFIDENT
This means wear clothes that fit correctly, that you don’t have to adjust every 2 minutes, and that you feel like you look good in.  Looking good means feeling good and for networking you want to feel your best.
2. WEAR APPROPRIATE CLOTHING
That skintight dress might make you feel great, but it won’t get you any bonus points with the more seasoned members of your profession.  This is your opportunity to be taken seriously.  Dress for the job you want.  
Skirts should be around the knee.  Pencil skirts are fine as long as they’re loose enough to sit down in.  Rock a v-neck but hide your cleavage with a camisole underneath.  Sleeveless tops are generally ok, spaghetti straps are not.  It’s always better to err on the side of more conservative.
A good general rule is to stay away from anything skin tight, animal print, or metallic.  Sorry, Katy Perry.
Do not wear anything that looks like this:
3. BRING A CARDIGAN OR BLAZER
Conference rooms are always cold.  Bring a cardigan or a blazer because you will, invariably, find yourself freezing.
4. DON’T BE AFRAID OF COLOR
Some professions are known for being devoid of color.  The legal profession is one of them.  That doesn’t mean that you have to be a sheep!  Don’t be afraid of patterns (except for animal print) and colors.  Color makes you stand out in the crowd a bit, which is good when you’re networking.  Just don’t go overboard.
This week I’ll be wearing printed pants, a hot pink blazer, and a flame orange blouse (obviously not all together). 
5. BRING SENSIBLE SHOES
You’ll be walking and standing around a lot.  Wedges and heels less than 3 inches are good for this.  Professional conventions aren’t the place to break in your new stilettos.  Peep toes are ok, strappy sandals are not.  Subtle platforms are ok, lucite heels are not.  Flats are acceptable to wear as long as the rest of your outfit is professional, as flats have a way of styling down an outfit. 
6. PICK A GOOD PURSE
You’re going to be getting business cards, pamphlets, free stress balls, bottles of water, and tons of other stuff to carry around.  Make sure you bring a bag that’s big enough to hold these things and to wear on your arm.  It makes it easier when you’re holding a glass of wine in one hand and shaking hands with the other (Tip: Always hold your drink in your left hand so you can shake with your right).
7. BRING DRESSIER CLOTHES
Most conventions have events at night.  Check the social calendar ahead of time if there is one.  Sometimes there are theme nights or black tie dinners.  Pack appropriately.  If there’s a Western night at a convention in Texas, pack that hat and bandana!  You won’t be the only one dressed up and your outfit will be a great ice breaker!

8. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BRANDS
This depends on your industry, but it’s my opinion that your Christian Louboutin shoes and screaming designer purses should be left at home, especially if you’re a young woman in your industry.  People will notice you if you’re well put together but a walking advertisement of how much money on spent on your outfit can be misinterpreted and take the focus off of what’s really important while networking: YOU.

9. SMILE
You’re never fully dressed without a smile.  Cheesy as that sounds, it’s true.  Conventions are long and tiring and can be nerve wracking if you’re new.  People are friendly and welcoming to happy people. So smile while networking.

10. OTHER RANDOM TIPS
Bring plenty of business cards, stockings (I personally don’t wear them but a lot of people do), and load up on free food!  Careful with the free drinks!  Be friendly and collect business cards–you never know who you’ll meet!  Send LinkedIn requests and follow up emails to potential contacts when you get home from the convention. Have fun!

diy tutorial: kentucky derby hat

Today marks one week from today when I will be leaving for a Kentucky Derby roadtrip with some girl friends!  14 hours from New Jersey to Kentucky should be an interesting experience!  In honor of the countdown, today I’m sharing my DIY Kentucky Derby hat and tips on how to make your own!

A couple of weeks ago I posted this Kentucky Derby outfit inspiration board (pictured below).  I had all of the pieces for a great Derby outfit with the exception of a hat so my girlfriend and I had a Kentucky Derby hat making party.  While there are plenty of hats to buy online, I like any excuse for a party.  Here’s how you can get started on you own Derby hat.

*Keep in mind that the goal here is fashionable ridiculousness at a reasonable price*
STEP 1: PICK A DRESS & COLOR SCHEME
I found a teal dress from Old Navy so I decided to use magenta as a bright contrasting color.  My girlfriend bought a similar dress in navy and found a neon yellow belt to accessorize.  Other color-pairing options for me would have been teal and orange, teal and coral, or even teal and yellow.  Here’s the inspiration board from my previous post.


STEP 2: FIND A HAT
I was debating colors when I found a huge magenta hat at Target so magenta became the winner.   Bonus: the hat was on sale for $12.  I wanted my hat to be big and floppy.  Done.

STEP 3: GO NUTS AT THE CRAFT STORE
The trick here is to pick up as much stuff in your color scheme for as cheap as possible.  It’s a DIY hat, not a project for a Nobel Peace Prize.  The bigger the better, and if you’re like me and paying $40 for General Admission tickets, you don’t have to worry about impressing A-listers with a $500 hat.  I collected coupons from Michael’s crafts and happened to go on a day when there was a huge sale.  My ribbon and doodads totalled around $15.

Search the sale aisle for anything that might work.  Think outside the (hat) box.  I had no idea what I wanted my hat to look like aside from the fact that I wanted ribbons, a flower of some sort and something sparkly.  To contrast the magenta hat, I picked teal ribbon and magenta and teal doodads (that’s a craft word).   I bought a $0.99 thingamagig (that’s another craft word) that had a rosette and feathers on it and a feathery flower thing on sale for $2.00 that might have been intended as a garden ornament.  I got a sheet of adhesive pearls and rhinestones because I like things that sparkle.
STEP 4: WINE
It helps get the creative juices flowing…and it dulls the pain from when you inevitably burn yourself with hot glue.
STEP 5: GATHER MATERIALS & GLUE
Gather everything you bought and anything you have lying around your house that might help.  Extra ribbons, tulle, fabric, feathers, etc.

You need a hot glue gun for this project.  There’s no such thing as too much glue because your doodads will be heavy and glue keeps them on the hat.  You may even need to stitch some things on depending on how heavy they are.

I started by doubling up the thick ribbon I bought and gluing it in half.  I brought an iron out to make a crease and smooth the ribbon out so it laid nicely.  I cannot emphasize this enough: YOU CANNOT USE TOO MUCH GLUE!  I glued the ribbon around the hat with gobs of glue every inch or so.

STEP 6: PLAN, FLUFF, & ADD MORE GLUE
I dismantled the teal thinamagig that I bought by cutting off the rosette and sticking it on the magenta feather flower thing (I hope you’re keeping up with the technical words here).  I cut the feathers off the teal thingamagig and glued those on the magenta feather flower thing too.  Then I glued a pearl in the center of the rosette and made a bow out of the teal ribbon and glued that entire thing on top of the ribbon on the hat.

I grabbed some leftover tulle from tutus that I had made and tied big bows and glued those in back of the feather flower thing.  Then I added more bows.  Then I fluffed the bows and once they were fluffy enough, I glued on pearls and rhinestones until I was certain that it my hat was too embarrassing to be seen anywhere but the Kentucky Derby…and then I added some more glue for good measure.  In other words, I bought a hat, a bunch of stuff, drank some wine, glued the stuff onto the hat and am presenting it to you in all of its fabulousness.

Voila!  My DIY Kentucky Derby hat for around $30!

Do you think it needs anything else?


Linking up for Thursday Thoughts with Alyssa, Dani and Jaime!

right on target

This morning, while everyone was running Shamrock races and guzzling down green beer, I was in the deserted aisles of my local Target (as I had already celebrated St. Paddy’s Day last weekend when the weather was nice and not cold like today!).

Aside from the usual Sunday Target shopping list, I had seen an advertisement that shoes were buy one, get one 50% off.  Unfortunately, that must have been only online, or my local Target didn’t get the memo, because all shoes were full price.  That didn’t stop me from trying several pairs and going home to buy them.  

I was pleasantly surprised at the cute shoes that Target had in store.  I’ve never bought shoes at Target, but after hearing some good reviews, I thought I’d give them a shot.  I tried on these simple black wedge espadrilles.  The straps are elastic, which made them pretty comfortable.  The style is great for anything from work pants to jeans to dresses and skirts.  I paraded around the store in them for a while before snapping a picture of the box so I could go home and buy them through ebates*  with a Target e-gift card that I had (see explanation below).  
Target

I loved these black heels but thought that a high stiletto might be pushing it for someone who just had knee surgery.  I was pretty impressed at the trendy style and think they’d be a good pair of fun shoes for the summer.
Target

I picked up these adorable plastic bow sandals for the pool this summer.  Yes, they’re kids’ shoes.  Even though I’m a 7.5 or an 8 in women’s shoes, I find that I sometimes can wear kids shoes because of the width.  Kids’ shoes are generally wider than adults’ shoes, which is great for my fat toes.  
Target (in stores only)
In keeping with the kids’ shoes theme, I fell in love with these glittered girls’ flats.  The roomy toe box in the size 6 was perfect and I couldn’t resist a little sparkle.  However, I found them online in gold after taking the silver ones home so I ordered them through ebates* too!  One pair of glitter flats is enough though, so I’ll decide which I like better when the gold come and return the unnecessary pair.

Target

*For those of you not in the know, ebates is a great website that gives you cash back every time you buy something through their website.  There’s no catch, I swear!  If you want to check it out or sign up, please use my referral link here! I earned 2% cash back for my Target purchases online today.  It might not be much, but it adds up!


These boys’ faded red canvas slip ons also caught my eye but I didn’t think I’d get enough use out of them to justify the purchase and closet space.  What do you think??

I’m no stranger to buying little boys’ shoes for myself.  Like the girls’ shoes, the toe box is wider is good for my feet.  Last year I played flag football in boys’ cleats.  It doesn’t hurt that they’re cheaper!
Target
These girls gladiator sandals were almost too cute to pass up…but again, I wasn’t sure how much use they would get and I thought it was getting a bit creepy that I was buying kids shoes for myself.  Aren’t they cute though?!
Target

After Target, I went to Old Navy, but I’ll post my purchase from there another day because I bought something for an event that deserves it’s own post!

Do you shop for clothes or shoes at Target?

seeing red

Today is National Wear Red Day campaigned by the NIH.  While I generally don’t jump on campaigns, I’m a big advocate of exercise and being healthy, which includes heart health.  The fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the US sickens me and it’s driving me mad that I can’t work out, so please read this and do something healthy for your heart today (while I sit on my couch, sedentary)!
In honor of today, I found the one and only red shirt in my closet (aside from college apparel–Go Badgers!) I found this Pinspiration style and decided to copy the look.  Try to imagine that it’s not horribly blurry.

I subbed the blue jeans for black jeans because I’ve been feeling my black denim lately.  
Black Jeans: Forever 21 // White shirt: NY&Co // Plaid Shirt: Forever 21 (similar, similar) // Boots
 I don’t have a black infinity scarf so I took a regular one and tied the ends together.  I liked the style of the knot so I kept it up front instead of putting it behind my neck as originally planned.  I kept the knots loose enough so that I can undo them without issue.  
Some of the “infinity scarf” tutorials out there recommend tying the ends together so tight that the knots can’t be undone.  Instead I took the opposite corners of each end and tied them together.  Similar to how you’d tie a trash bag without handles.

I fixed it loosely around my neck and I’m all set to bear the chilly temperatures while wearing red for National Wear Red Day!

Did you wear red today (or are you wearing Superbowl colors)?