Snowy Days Gettin’ You Down?

I know, its cold and grey in most of the country, and you’re over it. Just go with it, rock it out for work, add a happy pop of color, and know that Downton Abby and your sweatpants await when you get home.Grey Days

Mini stocking
modcloth.com

Grey bootie boots
modcloth.com

Mixed Metal and Turquoise Cuff
$78 catherinenicole.com

Matte Silver Earrings
$40 catherinenicole.com

Fair Trade Skinny Silver Braided Cuff
$32 catherinenicole.com

To Thy Own Self Be True

Hello, readers! Have you missed me? Aside from filling orders, I’ve been busy child-rearing and other related activities. But I’ve missed you. So, let’s get back to it, shall we?

I’ve recently been thinking about a theme that often comes up for me in my line of work, and that’s the distinction between fashion and style. Have you ever looked at images like the ones below, and thought ‘That looks cool, but how does someone like me pull that off?’. The short answer is: In your own way.

Are the looks we like attainable?

Sadly and amazingly Fast Fashion stores have made most trends available to us. You may wonder if you know how to put these looks together and if you can pull it off. BUT what you should really be asking yourself is, should you? For example, I love girlie retro silhouettes, flirty skirts, and red lipstick, but none of those work on me. I feel like a kid itching her way through church clothes and ready to jump back into overalls and play. It’s just not me. I’ve grown to know my body and my boho style, and when I play to that, I feel much more confidant and sexy than when I try to make myself something I’m not.

On a Blog Vs. In Real Life
Fat Face tunic, $72 / Dorothy Perkins black jeans $39/ Steve Madden black boots $190/ Hobo handbag $389 / Ray-Ban sunglasses, $210

When you see a certain look in a magazine, blog, trashy celeb weekly, etc.. what is it that you like about it? What do you see of yourself in that look? In the look above, I like the cozy girl-next-door vibe of the big sweater, but the sexiness of everything else being sleek and revealed. Realistically, though, I’m not going to pick my son up from school in that outfit, and if I didn’t work in the fashion industry, I wouldn’t show up to work like that either. So you use the runways, magazines, and fashionistas as inspiration and translate the looks into something that works for your body, your personal style and your lifestyle.

On a Blog vs In Real Life
Sam&Lavi shirt top $112/ Moschino high waisted skirt $140/ Fogal black pantyhose / Ann Taylor pointy-toe pumps $128/ Zara black bowler bag $129/ iHeart slouch hat, $180

‘Fashion’ is a craze, a fad, and a business industry. ‘Style’ is a manner and an approach to that industry. Your style is how you make your physical look an extension of who you are. In the words of Mark Twain, “naked people have little or no influence on society”. So since you have to get dressed, make yourself feel the most bold, the most confident, and the most YOU that you can.

To Each Her Own

I was truly saddened by Fashionista’s “A Tale of Plastic Surgery, Scandal, and Pageant Prisoners” yesterday. The accompanying email features an image of the Miss Korea Pageant contestants, looking shockingly similar, and the article examines the plastic surgery epidemic that accounts for the clone-like results.

miss korea

They claim that double eyelid surgery has become so commonplace there, that Koreans hardly even consider it a surgery anymore. On further investigation, I came across a devastating picture, which I’ve decided not to post, of a once very beautiful woman who deformed herself by injecting cooking oil into her face.

What has become of our world when we’ve boiled down beauty to a look so specific, that we need to transcend ethnicity in order to achieve it? Don’t you remember those Benetton ads, when for a brief moment we lived in sweatshirts and celebrated the differences that our ethnicities bring to our face and world?

United Colors of Benetton

United Colors of Benetton Women

Personally, I look at the image of the Korean beauty pageant contestants, and I don’t know or care who’s the most beautiful. They’ve intentionally covered up all the character that I find most beautiful in a face. To me, there’s nothing sexier than a woman confidently laughing, or owning an unusual feature. Yes, the contestant are all exceedingly beautiful by modern standards, but what do they tell us about themselves?

Average Women Faces

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I’m opposed to plastic surgery. In fact, I was in an accident when I when 19, and I gladly had a bump on my nose removed when the doctor fixed the adjacent bump from the accident. I asked the doctor if he could just give me a button nose while he was at it. He actually said no. He said that, while it would look pretty, I would no longer look like me.  I’ve never loved my nose, but he sure was right about that.

What I’m saying is, perhaps, we should just laugh a little more, rock out our gap teeth (in Lauren’s case) or a Jewish nose (in my own), and be thankful for the faces God/Nature/Ethnicity/Genetics/Life has given us.

Lauren Hutton Circa 1975
“I‘m not part of the cultural elite. I’m a down-home girl. Always have been, always will be.” – Lauren Hutton

($5 from every CatherineNicole.com sale helps turn impoverished girls into
entrepreneurs. Shop now and a donation will be made from your purchase!)

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Fall Accessories Guide

For those of you who still get the back-to-school shopping jitters, here are a few ideas, all under $200, to get you started with Fall accessories.

Fall Accessories Guide

Shoulder bag
topshop.com

Topshop Clutch
topshop.com

Topshop duffle bag
topshop.com

Gold Arrow Ring
catherinenicole.com

Green Onyx Gemstone Ring

catherinenicole.com

Gemstone Bib Necklace in Onyx
catherinenicole.com

Iphone case
anthropologie.com

H M infinity scarf
$12 - hm.com

H M leather glove
$23 - hm.com

H M leather belt
$20 - hm.com

Topshop Belt
topshop.com

Topshop preppy glasses
$21 - topshop.com

($5 from every CatherineNicole.com sale helps turn impoverished girls into
entrepreneurs. Shop now and a donation will be made from your purchase!)

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Loungewear to Live in

Have you ever noticed that girls in movies, regardless of the character’s income level, have perfectly soft and form-flattering loungewear and pajamas? Obviously they’re never see-through, and they never have nipolitis, but c’mon! Your character would never have spent that much money on sweatpants… PS- where are they from?

LoungewearFrom Venus et Jude

You may ask “Does it matter if I look cute when I’m lounging at home?” If you don’t live alone and there are several months of the year (9 in my case) when you plan on wearing loose and mostly jersey-knit garb, than you may want to step-it up.

Here are some ideas by category. (Disclaimer: I didn’t choose for price.)

1) Straight-Up Comfy. I don’t care about anything else. Pass me the remote.

Cozy Loungewear
Splendid three quarter sleeve top / Splendid block top / James Perse jersey robe /Anthropologie Robe / Daniel Buchler relaxed fit pants

2) Will probably get you lucky, and you’ll look like you weren’t trying

Casually Sexy Loungewear

3) Loungewear you can get away with on the street… At the grocery store- not the club.

Loungewear You Can Wear Out
Current/Elliott sweatshirts hoody / James Perse / Chaser top / James Perse / James Perse / SUNDRY sweat pants
Thoughts? Pins? Comfy, expandable waist recommendations?

The Art of Discretion

While reading ‘Sense and Sensibility’ last month, I found myself wondering what is it that’s so sexy about these drawn-out Will They?-Won’t They? relationships that consume the plot of most Jane Austen novels (in addition to sub-plots pertaining to the financial & social ramifications of these unions). Like many a rom-com, we know how it’s going to turn out, but just love to vicariously experience the jittery build-up of a crush slowly manifested. Garnish it with inhibited dress and delicate language, and the love-hate flirtation becomes a lot more seductive.

So, while other style blogs bring you the weather-appropriate bare-all looks for this 4th of July, I bring you a look I’ll call The Art of Discretion.

Long Summer DressMiranda Kerr

The art of Discretion: Long Dresses

The Art of Discretion: Swimsuits

Seafolly swimsuit, $90 / River Island retro swimsuit, $7.63

Long Boho Dressfrom Lolobu
Flirty Maxi Dresses
SUNO NY floral dress, $445 / Melissa Odabash sequin dress / Project D London maxi dress, $450 
Sense and Sensibility

Final thought… Consider the idea that there may be something even sexier in keeping them guessing.

How to Make Soap (The Easy, Melt and Pour Way)

Like macrame and book-binding, soapmaking seems a pursuit meant only for the super crafty. But don’t be fooled– it’s actually as easy as making pasta. ..More or less. Last night, my friend, Hannah (of Hannah Bakery) brought a crew over to my place for this tutorial as part of her month-long birthday learning series. Let me give you a quick run-through of our exploration into this addictive and hygenic past time…

Soap Making Tutorial

Things you’ll need…

Double boiler or crock pot: … Because you want to melt the soap base slowly. I got this double boiler for about $12 at Ikea. Alternatively you can buy this one  online. A crock pot would be better if you were making an absurd amount of soap. It seems messier to me to too.

Soap Molds: … You can buy them at your local craft store (Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Ben Franklin, etc), or online, I’m sure. You can also use chocolate molds, unique ice molds, or silicone bread molds.

Shea Butter, Glycerin, Goat Milk, or Beeswax base: … You can buy these at the same craft stores. I also like a company called Millcreek Soy Wax that I usually order candle-making supplies from. (Candle-making is VERY similar to soap making, so if you’re interested, read my tutorial.)

Soap Making Tutorial
Color: … There are special soap-dyes (Red, Yellow, Blue) that you can buy at the craft store. I have food coloring shown in the picture (below), but I didn’t end up using it. Food coloring purportedly does not work as well for soap-making.

Soap Making Tutorial

Scent: You can use any essential oil for this. I like ones like rosehip and tea tree that are known to be good on the skin, as well as ones for their fragrance, such as jasmine and lavender, or peppermint for face soap.

Other Ingredients: My favorite, hands down, is olive oil. After spending some time in Spain and seeing how beautiful and elastic the women’s  skin is, I’m a true believer in the moisturizing properties olive oil, especially face. You can also use rolled oats, dried lavender, rosemary, honey, almond oil, etc.. My weird, fiber-obsessed friend used barley. It actually looked pretty cool too.

Let’s Get Started!

Ok, so you have your materials.  Here’s the super-easy run-down:

Step 1. Fill the bottom pot of the double boiler about 1/3 full, and bring to a boil.

Step 2. Add your soap base to the top boiler and cover to expedite the melting process. Stir occasionally. You can use a single base or mix bases. Just keep in mind that any amount of an opaque base will make your soap opaque. So, if you want your soap to be clear, stick to clear, glycerine-type bases.

Step 3. When the soap base is melted or getting close to melted, add your color, fragrances, and any oils or dissolvables (ie, honey). Remember, essential oils are strong, so you don’t need more than a few drops. A lot of it is trial and error too, because some oils are a lot more potent than others.

Step 4: Pour! I’ll elaborate here…

Soap Making Tutorial
You can fill the mold all the way with your concoction. Or you can fill partially for a layered soap. If you fill all the way, don’t touch it or move the mold for the first 15 minutes. A normal-sized mold should take only about 40 minuted to harden enough for you to remove it. You can stick it in the freezer too, though I don’t recommend that if you’re using honey (it will be hard to get out).

Soap Making Tutorial
For layered soap, you can now make and add a different concoction, or add a layer of something aesthetic or textured.

Soap Making Tutorial

When you pop the soap out of the mold (“Hold it upside down and let gravity help”, insisted Hannah last night.), it may come out with what’s called flashing. (See image below). Flashing is a thin layer of soap from where it spread out of the mold. Just cut it off with a knife.

Soap Making TutorialYou can also play around with placing natural elements in the bottom of the mold, adding a thin layer of melted soap (to keep your design in place), and then filling the mold.

Soap Making Tutorial
Soap Making TutorialAnd voila! That should get you more than started. Last night, we had a blast making these. See some of our other creations from last night…

Soap Making Tutorial

Hannah CasparianHannah and her barley/silicone implant soap.

Soap Making Tutorial
Stay clean, everyone!

What Mom Really Wants

…. In other words, what I really want. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s break it down like this. Does the mom in question have children living at home, making a mess, needing food, baths, TLC, rides to a friends’ house/birthday party/soccer practice? OR, does said mother need some post-child-rearing appreciation for all the aforementioned mothering she carried out in earlier years? Actually, it doesn’t matter. They both need you to show them the love, right? And don’t forget your mother-in-law, who (hopefully) has welcomed you into her family as a another child.

Gifts to Pamper Mom

This one should be obvious…

Spa Day For Mom
Her Childrens' Initials Close to Her Heart

Letter Necklace in Silver/ Letter Necklace in Gold / Double Letter Necklace in Silver | Double Letter Necklace in Gold / Triple Letter Necklace

 Hope you read my blog, family!