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Beauty, Hairstyles, Fashion Trends & More | SheKnows

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    Maybe it's because I started wearing cosmetics so young. I matured early and developed acne as a kid, so I began wearing concealer when I was 9 years old. And as the years passed, my routine only expanded. Soon it was concealer and foundation, and powder, blush, mascara and my now "signature" lipstick. (My friends know I don't go anywhere without that smear of pink.)

    Although, generally, I enjoy wearing makeup and find the whole process of buying 'n' trying cosmetics pretty fun, there are times that I just don't feel like wearing anything at all. But until recently, I never actually did. As such a longtime cosmetic devotee, I almost didn't know how.

    That's why Annie Garau's story in the Kentucky Herald-Ledger really hit home for me. The 20-year-old Indiana University student describes going makeup free for one whole year after realizing cosmetics might be hindering her happiness instead of helping. However, it wasn't easy. She describes her experience going bare-faced as somewhat of a nightmare: "I felt uncomfortable, undesirable and embarrassed when we went to these parties or when I saw myself in photos. I felt as if people were treating me differently, and... I might have been right."

    Annie Garau

    Photo credit: Annie Garau

    Just before reading Annie's story, I'd been reflecting on my cosmetic fixation, and decided to do a little something to change it. As a woman, when makeup has almost become an extension of yourself, it's hard to change the mindset that you're not living up to your full potential without it. So, I know exactly how Annie feels, and it's what has always kept me applying makeup everywhere I go. I even took the time to slap on mascara before hitting the ER a couple of years back — and that's pretty insane. Amiright?

    So, I started going random places without makeup. To the bank. To the grocery store. To Starbucks. Even out to brunch. At first, it wasn't fun. It was actually strange and downright intimidating at times; I felt exposed and vulnerable, almost like people could see inside me, directly into a place I wasn't necessarily comfortable sharing. But the more I did the makeup-free thing, the less scary it became. And you know what? The world has not ended.

    Most people do not seem to treat me any differently. In fact, when I hit the mall virtually bare-faced a couple of weeks ago, I found I was getting complimented more by total strangers. Maybe, just maybe, people respond to realness more than we think.

    Annie's roughly two-thirds of the way into her bare-faced experiment. She's concluded so far that it's been time, money and worries saved. From her story: "I've learned that some people do treat me differently, but the people who matter don't. I've also learned that I overemphasized how much thought other people gave to my appearance. I've started relying more on my other assets. Working on kindness, humor and positivity has helped me change in meaningful ways."

    You don't have to go makeup-free forever to learn this, but nixing cosmetics every once in a while is totally worth it — especially if you know deep down you're a little too obsessive about making sure every hair is in place. I still love my pink lipstick collection and the thrill of getting dolled-up but in letting go of this intense need for external perfection, I've allowed myself to embrace vulnerability and I feel a little more powerful as a result.

    Before I started going makeup-free, I didn't realize "vulnerable" and "powerful" were traits that could coexist. Now that I have, I've come to realize it's the only way they can exist — and I am stronger because of it.

    More on beauty and style

    15 Stylish T-shirts with Beyoncé references — because, why not?
    Ashley Greene's beachy bob
    The smartest beach bag ever


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    1. Best bronzed glow

    Jennifer Lawrence looked exactly like a bronzed goddess at the Christian Dior Paris Fashion Week show in this glowing makeup. The actress paired the look with her curly bob and a showstopping white dress.

    Jennifer Lawrence

    Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

    2. Best creative hairstyle

    For a visit to the ITV studios, Nicole Scherzinger wore her hair in a braid/curls combo we're extremely obsessed with. This look is definitely ideal for the beauty gal who just can't make up her mind.

    Nicole Scherzinger

    Photo credit: Rocky/WENN.com

    3. Most daring hair change

    Whether you love it or hate it, Kristen Stewart's new orange bob definitely wins the title of most daring hair change this month.

    Kristen Stewart'

    Photo credit: Chris.K/WENN.com

    4. Best makeup/hair combo

    Paris Hilton looked positively pretty with this beauty look. Her soft waves and crown braid complemented her glowing skin and sultry eyes oh so nicely.

    Paris Hilton

    Photo credit: Guillermo Proano/WENN.com

    5. Best pixie

    In a super-stylish outing, Pink took a break from her busy schedule to hit the Armani fashion show in Paris with her signature pixie looking piecey and polished.

    Pink

    Photo credit: Chris.K/WENN.com

    6. Best blowout

    Have new hairstyle, will show it off. Guess that's the attitude Lily Collins had when she rocked her newly cropped bob in this perfect wispy blowout. We adore it, of course.

    Lily Collins

    Photo credit: WENN.com

    7. Best lip color

    Now this is the incarnation of a juicy lip color. Jessica Szohr's pout looked pretty as a Popsicle in this gorgeous berry shade.

    Jessica Szohr

    Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com

    8. Best Updo

    Larger than life hair? Check. Edgy outfit? Check. Nina Dobrev covered all her fashion bases when she paired her preppy ensemble with a high ballerina bun. Tres chic, no?

    Nina Dobrev

    Photo credit: WENN.com

    9. Best eye makeup

    We can't decide what we like better: Jennifer Lopez's larger than life lashes or her unique eyeshadow shade. We'll just call it a beautiful tie, shall we?

    Jennifer Lopez

    Photo credit: JLN Photography/WENN.com

    10. Best ponytail

    She's back! Katherine Heigl promoted her new NBC show in a flirty white fit and flare dress and super-cool ponytail. Check out the height she managed here, folks.

    Katherine Heigl

    Photo credit: Brian To/WENN.com

    11. Best sexy makeup

    Ashley Benson's smoky eyes, subtle pout and strategically placed bronzer make for one heck of a sexy makeup look. Date night inspiration, anyone?

    Ashely Benson

    Photo credit: PNP/WENN.com

    12. Best lip/lashes combo

    Barely there lashes provided the perfect backdrop to Kate Hudson's gorgeous berry lip color. Slicked-back hair only made the makeup stand out even more.

    Kate Hudson

    Photo credit: C.Childers/WENN.com

    13. Best beach waves

    Funny lady Julie Bowen looked flirty and summery with her beachy waves and pretty pout at the premiere of Disney's Planes: Fire & Rescue.

    Julie Bowen

    Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

    14. Best funky hairstyle

    Only Iggy Azalea could pull off a look this cool. The high pompadour front and the delicate curls combined for one super unique 'do.

    Iggy Azalea

    Photo credit: JLN Photography/WENN.com

    15. Best work beauty look

    Want to look professional and pretty at the office? Take Maria Menounos' stunning curls and soft makeup look as inspiration.

    Maria Menounos' stunning curls

    Photo credit: Dan Jackman/WENN.com

    More beauty

    June's best celebrity beauty looks
    Celeb hair we love
    10 Beauty product launches you have to check out this summer


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    This year's darling hair colors? Blue and purple. While they might look edgy and cool on hot celebs like Nicole Richie, Kelly Osbourne, Kylie Jenner and Kesha, these two hues aren't to be attempted without a bit of planning. We chatted with PRAVANA Artistic Director Vadre Grigsby to get the scoop on what you should consider before taking the plunge.

    Consider your natural hair color first

    First things first, before you go ahead and dye your hair a bold blue or a pretty purple, consider your level of dedication to your new look. "One thing to consider is the commitment. These colors are long-lasting shades and don’t easily remove from the hair. Also, be ready for people to stop you on the street and tell you they love your hair!" Grigsby says.

    Another factor to consider? Your natural hair color. For darker hair, Grigsby recommends opting for a darker hue such as magenta or violet, while naturally light gals can more easily go for lighter variations of blue and violet.

    Nicole Richie and Kylie Jenner with blue hair

    Photo credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage/Getty Images

    How long it takes to dye your hair purple

    We're curious: How long will we be sitting in a salon chair before we enjoy the colorful fruits of our labor? "The amount of time and process of applying blue/purple all depends on the starting level of lightness. Once the suggested level of lightness is achieved, application is a breeze," Grigsby says. His go-to process when using VIVIDS hair color goes a little like this: Apply the color directly on the hair, process for 20 to 30 minutes, rinse and voila.

    The maintenance involved

    You'll have to think about maintenance. As with any new hair color, you're going to want to preserve the life of your new hue by taking some preventative measures. To extend your color, Grigsby recommends using a color-specific line like VIVIDS Aftercare Shampoo, Conditioner and Sealing Spray. And of course, the typical color care tips also apply here — stay out of the sun, wash your hair less and with cool water, you know the drill. "Dry shampoo is also a great tool to prevent shampooing as often," he says.

    Ironically, though, Grigsby explained that it's actually less stressful to maintain a blue or purple hue than say maintaining a switch from black to blond: "The great thing about these shades though is the variance of colors that you get as the colors fade. For example, a bright violet eventually transitions into a beautiful, sheer lavender."

    Whether you decide to make the move from your natural hue to an eye-catching color like purple or blue or not, it's comforting to know that the trend is accessible at the very least. "Blue and violet colors are so universally flattering that quite seriously every skin tone can rock it! We are seeing this trend move into its own ombre, mermaid-style, which really allows a greater spectrum of blue/violet variations on the same head of hair," Grigsby says.

    Have fun with it ladies, it's only hair!

    More beauty

    12 Wedding hair ideas inspired by celebs
    12 Date night makeup ideas inspired by celebs
    Is this product cocktail the secret to beating frizz?


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    1. Powder

    Absorbing moisture is key, and baby powder is a powerful ally in the war against moisture. A liberal dusting under my arms and any area of my body that is covered with clothing is one of the first things I do in the morning. An added benefit? This helps prevent chafing, so get ready to say goodbye to the chub rub.

    2. Panty liners

    Panty liners are a must. Can we admit that if something is off with our nether regions, that it throws everything else off? I'm a firm believer that the word "moist" should really only apply to food. It's one of those ugly truths we all deal with, and sometimes one little change makes a world of difference. So I recently updated my routine, and now use a daily liner when I get dressed in the morning; they go a long way in absorbing moisture down there. My pick? Carefree's Acti-Fresh Daily Liners are unscented, soft, super thin and absorbent. They feel like they are not even there and you'll forget you're even wearing one. Hands down, this is a major component to keeping that fresh feeling... it's like having a fresh pair of undies anytime, all the time.

    3. Pack and prepare

    I keep "freshening-up essentials" with me at all times. From my dry shampoo to wet towelettes to dental floss, I have everything I need to take me from work to happy hour on a nice, sunny patio. I put my hair up and reach for my favorite perfumed towelettes. It cools me down and leaves my skin lightly scented with green tea.

    4. Play dress-up

    Last but definitely not least, I dress the part. It is nothing but lightweight and breathable materials once it starts to warm up. Anything that breathes and doesn't trap in body heat is my friend during the summer. That and a topknot or French braid and I'm good to go.

    How do you stay fresh and cool? We'd love to hear your routine for staying fresh during these warmer months.

    Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Carefree and SheKnows.

    Photo credit: Layland Masuda/Moment/Getty images

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    1. Pebble Smartwatch

    Pebble Smartwatch

    Smartphone, it's time to meet your match. The Pebble Smartwatch works with both Android and iOS, so your teen can carry important apps, reminders, contacts and music wherever he or she goes. The watch is a great solution if cell phones are banned at your child's school, but he or she still needs access to the contents of his or her device. It's like the renaissance of the wristwatch, people. (Pebble, $150 and up)

    2. Up activity tracker

    Up activity tracker

    Encourage healthy habits by outfitting your child with an activity tracker, like this rad and teen-friendly one from Jawbone. It looks like any other colorful bracelet, but sends activity information to a smartphone app. We can practically hear your child running to get one now. (Jawbone, $80)

    3. Kapture audio wristband

    Kapture audio wristband

    Your teen is brilliant, but even the smartest kids may not take meticulous notes during class. Nip note-taking problems in the bud by purchasing an audio-recording bracelet, like this colorful model from Kapture. The bracelet allows kids to record anything they desire, which is a great solution for children with attention deficits or learning disorders. (Kapture, $99 on pre-order)

    4. Double Wear hair ties

    Double Wear hair ties

    These beautiful hair ties from Goody may not have a corresponding smartphone app, but they sure are functional for a teen on the run. We love that yesteryear's elastic-hair-tie-bracelets are updated to look like high-quality stackable bangles for your fashion-forward teen or tween. (Target, $5)

    5. Cuff GPS necklace

    Cuff GPS necklace

    Your super-responsible teen still needs help if an emergency arises. Outfit your child with one of many available Cuff devices — which look just like trendy jewelry — so that she can sound the alarm if she's in trouble. Cuff jewelry contains GPS, so you'll know her location the moment she sounds the alarm. (Cuff, $30 and up on pre-order)

    6. Leather USB bracelet

    Cuff GPS necklace

    USB cards are an easy way to carry files, but the method can turn disastrous if your teen loses the tiny USB before a big project is due. Minimize the risk by purchasing this handsome Nordic Leather USB Bracelet, so your kid can carry assignments wherever he or she goes. (Etsy, $30)

    7. Multi-function backpack

    Multi-function backpack

    Remember the days of lugging around both a backpack and a purse at school? It was like a back spasm waiting to happen. Those days, however, are long gone with multi-functional backpacks — like this one from ByGoods — that transition seamlessly from book bag to purse to handbag. (ByGoods, $30)

    More about back to school

    Public high school versus private: Does it affect college options?
    Geocaching home school lessons
    Is sex education going too far?


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    1. Quirky print

    Hers:

    Quirky print

    Who says your outfit gets to have all the fun? A printed backpack, like this owl patterned one, lends instant pizzazz to whatever you're wearing, even on days when you roll out of bed and toss on whatever dirty T-shirt and jeans are already laying around. Never underestimate the power of the perfect book bag when it comes to making you seem put-together in no time. (Asos.com, $38)

    His:

    Quirky print

    Okay, so maybe polka dots and houndstooth are a bit more, well, posh than your average teenage boy is used to wearing. But don't you want to be the teenage boy with the best style? Thought so. This Hershel Supply Co. backpack will give you a leg up on the competition, even if it won't score you a place on the football team — that one's up to you. (Urban Outfitters, $69)

    2. Leather

    Hers:

    Leather

    You can't go wrong with black leather, which literally never goes out of fashion. If you're not the type to bring home every textbook in your locker each night, the size and shape of the Clean Smart Backpack is perfect. The sleek bag is roomy enough to hold plenty of essentials and lightweight enough not to weigh you down. (Topshop, $68)

    His:

    Leather

    This hearty leather-look pack has trendy buckle detailing and extra pockets for you to stash pens and electronics. Plus it's classy, which is more than can be said for those cotton Jansports everyone else will be rocking. (Topman, $55)

    3. Canvas

    Hers:

    Canvas

    You want your backpack to go with everything since you'll likely be sporting the same one Monday through Friday from September until June. The Mi Pac Spot Print Backpack does the trick with a mostly navy surface decorated only by a white polka-dotted pocket. Only downside? That cute faux-suede trim won't hold up too well in rain or snow. (Asos.com, $42)

    His:

    Canvas

    Camouflage is so old-school, but it gets some new life with the red buckles and navy blue contrast on the Hershel Little America Backpack. Whatever you do, don't wear this with camo patterned shorts, though. That's taking the theme a bit too seriously. (RevolveClothing.com, $100)

    4. Messenger bag

    Hers:

    Messenger bag

    The messenger bag or satchel is like the backpack's painfully cool older cousin who just doesn't have time for two straps. This floral over-the-shoulder bag is still roomy but has a more casual vibe than other backpack options. Plus, how cute is that floral print? This bag will let you move freely from math class to chorus practice without skipping a beat. (Asos.com, $38)

    His:

    Messenger bag

    A simple grey canvas satchel will take you through your day with ease. Unlike clunkier backpack styles, this look is totally effortless and won't get in your way as you bounce from homeroom to AP English to the after-school meeting of the newspaper editorial staff. (Asos.com, $34)

    Head back to school in fashion with these related links

    Shoes that dress up a school uniform
    Making a comeback: Retro back-to-school clothes

    Tips for staying upbeat for back-to-school shopping


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    1. Steve Madden Troopa Boots

    Steve Madden Troopa Boots>

    If your tween girl is growing like a weed and already getting too big for her boots (in more ways than one), help her step up her style game for the first day of school in a brand spanking new pair of shoes. These chic Steve Madden boots are available in three different basic colors and look great with everything from jeans and a flannel tee to a skirt and blouse. (Macys.com, $109)

    2. Levi's Boys Slim Fit Jeans

    Levi's Boys Slim Fit Jeans

    A nice pair of jeans is an essential for any growing tween boy so trust us when we say your little man will literally be too cool for school in these slim black Levi's. Plus, you'll love them too considering they're more than half off. Now, that's what we call a steal. (Levi.com, $20)

    3. Herschel Heritage Backpack

    Herschel Heritage Backpack

    No need to sacrifice quality for style when it comes to picking out a grade-A backpack that will make it through the school year and beyond. Herschel's Heritage Backpack not only looks hip on the outside, but it's also built to last, which we know is equally, if not more so, important to moms. (Herschelsupply.com, $55) 

    4. Levi's Button Front Shirt

    Levi's Button Front Shirt

    Get your tween up to speed on the ombre trend with this soft denim button-down top in Malibu peach color spray. It's one shirt we're sure she'll be stoked to rock on the first day of school and all throughout winter on into spring too. (Levi.com, $23) 

    5. Forever 21 Dotted Floral Shirtdress

    Forever 21 Dotted Floral Shirtdress

    Your preteen may not be 21 yet, but for the trendier stuff on her wishlist, this is a great place to go. Moms and daughters alike will adore this sweet dotted floral shirtdress perfect for both school and birthday parties on the weekend. (Forever21.com, $18)

    6. Tween Nike Flex Run Athletic Shoe

    Tween Nike Flex Run Athletic Shoe

    Cool enough to wear with jeans and absolutely ideal for PE, your preteen is guaranteed to get a ton of use out of these shoes. Buy them in basic black to go with everything or jazz up his look with a pop of red. Better yet, let him pick. (Journeys.com, $70)

    7. Organic Cotton Lunch Bag

     Organic Cotton Lunch Bag

    If your preteen has already ditched the cutesy lunch box in favor of brown paper bags, we bet this baby will change his or her mind fast. It's made from washable, unbleached cotton and has a fold-over velcro closure to keep food fresh. Most importantly though, it just looks rad. (Grassrootsstore.com, $9)


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    Sport these adorable accessories come September and you'll be winning that "Best Hair" superlative in no time.

    1. Embellished hair ties

    Embellished hair ties

    A ponytail is one of the easiest ways to keep your hair off your face while running from class to class during the school day. Who says you have to stick to your the old scrunchies and elastic bands you've had since childhood? Instead, opt for some classy jewel-encrusted hair ties that add some polished glitz to your outfit. (Anthropologie, $24)

    2. Art Deco pins

    Art Deco pins

    Some days you don't want a full on up-do but you're still looking to spice up your hairstyle. That's where fancy bobby pins, like these Art Deco inspired ones from Mod Cloth come in. They have some Gatsby-era flair without being too over-the-top for your average Monday in homeroom. (Mod Cloth, $9)

    3. Metal statement barrette

    Metal statement barrette

    Is your style more minimalist than Manic Pixie Dream Girl? Choose a simple oversized metal barrette to secure a sloppy bun or casual half-up/half-down. The look is sharp and almost sporty, but certainly not juvenile, plus that shiny surface will gleam just right in the fluorescent lights of first-period math class. (Urban Outfitters, $12)

    4. Braided plaid headwrap

    Braided plaid headwrap

    Plaid might be a back-to-school cliche favored by department store catalogs, but this braided headwrap is anything but boring. Channel your inner Blair Waldorf with this prim-and-proper hair piece, best accompanied by a schoolgirl blazer, bold tights, and a whole lot of attitude. (Forever 21, $4)

    5. An old-school red scrunchie

    An old-school red scrunchie

    Haven't you heard? Scrunchies are back. As always, they are best in bright red like Queen Bee Heather Chandler wears in the 1988 cult-classic Heathers. Score the perfect red scrunchie from American Apparel and wear it with everything from your gym uniform (do schools even have gym uniforms anymore?) to your pizza and ice cream date with that cute boy from English. Leave the shoulder pads in the '80s where they belong, though. (American Apparel, $6)

    6. Boho headscarf

    Boho headscarf

    Make a splash with a printed headscarf worthy of Woodstock. This one from Forever 21 is super cheap and makes mixing prints a walk in the park. Pair with a breezy peasant blouse or denim button-down for a nonchalant look. (Forever 21, $4)

    7. Floral hair clip

    Floral hair clip

    A full-on, Coachella-worthy flower crown might be a bit much for lunch in the cafeteria, but you can still capture the music festival vibe well into the school year with an orchid flower clip. The bright (fake) bud is the only accessory you'll need to add some feminine flair to your average uniform of jeans, flannel and Converse sneaks (Asos.com, $8).

    Get more back-to-school ideas with these links

    Best back-to-school shoes under $50
    Back-to-school backpacks

    Top 10 back-to-school wardrobe essentials


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    Rule #1: Pair them with something super feminine

    Our favorite way by far to style basic black sneakers is with a feminine skirt or dress in order to help offset the masculine-ness of the shoe. We love how this girly pleated maxi looks with a cute tucked-in graphic tee and statement necklace for school. Add a black faux leather backpack and you'll be the epitome of cool.

    Rule #1: Pair them with something super feminine

    Nike Roshe Run Hyperfuse Sneaker (Nordstrom.com, $85); LC Lauren Conrad Pleated Maxi Skirt (Kohls.com, $30); Forever 21 The Best Heathered Tee (Forever21.com, $16); T-Shirt & Jeans Studded Black Faux Leather Backpack (Zumiez.com, $30); Pastel Yacht Bib Necklace in Purple (Baublebar.com, $46)

    Rule #2: If you're going to wear jeans make sure they're super skinny

    Don't want to look like you're trying out for the basketball team in math class? Then we suggest avoiding baggy shorts and wide-leg pants and sticking with skinny jeans instead. These white All Stars go great with cigarette skinnies in a dark wash or bold, bright color. Throw a denim chambray shirt on over top and you've got an outfit for the books.

    Rule #2: If you’re going to wear jeans make sure they're super skinny

    Chuck Taylor All Star Fancy (Converse.com, $60); Mother The Looker Red Denim Skinny Jeans (Stylebop.com, $189); Hinge Chambray Shirt (Nordstrom.com, $26)

    Rule #3: Purchase a pair of high-top fashion sneakers in a fun print

    If you're a girly girl at heart, one way to try out the tomboy trend is by buying a pair of high-top fashion kicks in a cool color. For example, these edgy leopard-print shoes hardly even look like sneakers at all. Style them with some simple black stretch leggings or a leather-like skirt and opt for a ladylike floral blouse up top.

    Rule #3: Purchase a pair of high top fashion sneakers in a fun print

    MM6 Maison Martin Margiela Leopard High Top Sneakers (Shopbop.com, $198); ASOS Short Sleeve Kimono Blouse in Floral Print (Asos.com, $61); Express Sexy Stretch Legging (Express.com, $30)

    Rule #4: Do a midi or maxi dress with low-top, slip-on kicks

    Let's face it, cankles don't look cute on anyone, and unfortunately, high tops can help create the illusion of them. So your best bet is to steer clear of those if you're sporting a skirt or dress to school and choose some low-top, slip-on sneakers instead.

    Rule #4: Do a midi or maxi dress with low top, slip on kicks

    Free People Brume Dress (Freepeople.com, $268); Vans Metallic Slip Ons (Vans.com, $60)

    More fashion tips

    Back to school wishlist for your preteen


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    Tee to Tank Refashion

    Here's how to make it happen

    1. Using a sharp pair of scissors, chop the sleeves off your T-shirt.

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    2. Using the sleeves you just cut off, cut a strip of fabric off the top of the sleeve. It should be about 2-3 inches wide, and as long as your original sleeve.

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    3. Take the strip of fabric you just cut and loop it around the shoulder of your shirt.

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    4. Lay the ends of the strip flat together and sew a straight stitch across them to form a full loop. Trim the extra fabric.  (Non-sewing version: Use fabric glue to create the loop.) Twist the loop around so the seam is hidden on the inside of the shirt, and you're done.

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    Tee to Tank Refashion

    More DIY Fashion

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    Add a faux necklace to revive an old sweater


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    The word pageant has become synonymous with the phrase "beauty pageant" and it's often difficult for women to explain their attraction to the program without the immediate negative assumptions. We watch as kids, teens and young women compete in scantily clad outfits and ball gowns to win that prized crown. Wanting to break through some of those stereotypes, two Mrs. contestants explain their motivations for competing for the crown.

    Paige Lippe Mrs. New Jersey

    Photo credit: Paige Lippe

    "The Mrs. pageant differs from the pageants for kids and young adults because those pageants generally create opportunities that provide scholarships," says Paige Lippe, Mrs. New Jersey United States 2014. "The women in the Mrs. pageants have already established themselves in their communities." Like most mothers and wives in the country, these women have already gone through the necessary stages in life to define their chosen paths. This benefit allows the focus of the pageant to be on a charitable platform rather than self-promotion.

    Though promoting a charity is the basis for the competition, the addition of swimsuit and evening gown portions of the pageants still garner harsh criticism from those thinking competing is purely a selfish act. "Most people judge us by the 90 minutes we're on stage. But, there are 525,600 minutes in a year," says Evelyn McCleod, Mrs. New Jersey America 2013. "My daily life consists of spending as much time with my family and working full time."

    Mrs. New Jersey Evelyn McCleod

    Photo credit: Evelyn McCleod

    Often times in our society once women are married or of a certain age, they're expected to take on that mommy role and devote their entire lives to their families. "I think the biggest misconception is that pageants are all about the beauty, which really is a big turn off to people. This is an opportunity to do good things for others while improving myself," says Paige. "My daughter and my husband are always my first priority. But, there's no rule that a woman has to sacrifice her health and looks to be considered a good mother and wife."

    But, why judge a woman on her looks at all if it is truly about promoting charitable causes? Couldn't these women simply skip the bikini and go on raising awareness on their own? Of course, these women argue, the pageant is just one avenue to take and a personal choice to work on themselves and their community. "After having a baby I was feeling down about my body and out of my routine of social interactions," says Paige. "Without the system and the demands I now have I might not have had the motivation to get back in shape, meet new people and help raise awareness for my family's charity. It's not for every woman, but it's what I needed to feel good about myself and help others."

    In fact, it can be argued that if a woman feels good and confident about herself she can be a stronger role model for her children and partner to her husband. These women believe that we all deserve to be the best versions of ourselves and celebrate that when the opportunity arises; the pageant was just their path of choice.

    More on pageants and stereotypes

    Inside the world of child pageants and stage moms
    Britney Spears tells Shape how she got a bikini body after kids
    Real moms dish on how to choose fun activities for their daughters


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    Because there's absolutely nothing worse than getting a serious sunburn on your back. But, getting sunscreen on your rear view isn't exactly the easiest thing in the world, especially if you're soaking in a few rays sans the BF or friends.

    Sure, you could always ask that random dude in the banana hammock to help (and he'd most certainly oblige), or you can do it yourself with the ergonomically-designed My Cabana Boy ($14). According to the company, you just snap in your spray lotion bottle, tilt your arm back and spray until your heart's content. It works with many brands, including Banana Boat, Bullfrog, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropic, Neutrogena, Ocean Potion, Panama Jack, Australian Gold and Sun Bum.

    Really... it's so easy that it can be summed up in seven seconds.

    My Cabana Boy

    My Cabana Boy

    So, it's easy... but there's been some drama recently about the safety of continuous-spray sunscreens.

    "The Consumer Report that recently came out warning against spray sunscreens is a precaution," says Dr. David E. Bank, dermatologist and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery in Mount Kisco, New York. "The FDA is currently studying possible health risks for spray sunscreens. Until the study is complete, it would be a wise choice to only use lotion sunscreens on children."

    For us adults? Spray on.

    "It's really more of a matter of preference than which option is better," adds Dr. Bank. "Sprays are less messy and are generally more lightweight than lotions, but lotions offer more even coverage and tend to be moisturizing."

    More on sunscreen

    Myths about sunscreen you need to stop believing ASAP
    These photos will convince you to wear sunscreen every second of the day
    The sunscreen you can drink


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    And to me, that means wearing something different and flattering. There are a handful of stores that most ladies flock to each summer for a new bikini, but that leads to many people wearing the same thing. My quest to find something a bit more unique has led me to some less widely known options which cover various swim occasions.

    1. Surfer chic: Diane's Beachwear

    I first found out about Diane's Beachwear when I lived in Los Angeles. They have several locations in California, and I was happy to learn that they also had a strong website once I moved to New York. I consider them to have a Cali-surfer-friendly selection, but sometimes have some edgy looks as well. I can always count on them to have new styles all year round and showcase products at many angles.

    Link: www.dianesbeachwear.com

    2. Trendy affordable: Asos, Nastygal, BooHoo

    I categorize these three sites together as they all have pretty trendy looks, but at a generally more affordable price. There is some product overlap in the sites, but I would say that Boo Hoo has the more affordable options, while Nastygal has more of the high end swimwear, and Asos has selections across the board.

    Link: www.asos.com , www.nastygal.com , www.boohoo.com

    3. South Beach sexy: OMG Miami Swimwear, Hot Miami Styles

    For ladies looking to go the more risque route, Miami-based online stores are the places to go. The suits featured don't leave much to the imagination and definitely aren't for the shy. Perfect for a Vegas pool party or a South Beach weekend.

    Link: www.hotmiamistyles.com , www.omgmiamiswimwear.com

    4. Swim in a hurry: Zappos

    Last-minute vacation or just a general procrastinator? Zappos is a great site for anyone who needs a swimsuit in a hurry. They have one-day free shipping (plus free returns) and a vast selection of swimwear. I'm not a fan of the model photography on the site, so it's good to cross check items on other sites before buying. However, I haven't seen any other site that has some of my favorite designers like Mara Hoffman, that also offer the ease of delivery.

    Link: www.zappos.com

    5. Up and coming: Instagram

    Looking for an independent designer that doesn't quite have their web presence built out yet? Check out Instagram. Type in terms like "monokini" and you'll have unique finds beyond the sites I listed as many people are using Instagram to visually promote their products. I was able to find new brands like Daresque and Mint-Swim through Instagram searching.

    Link: instagram.com/daresque , www.facebook.com/MintSwim

    And lastly, here I am in one of my all-time favorite suits from Diane's Beachwear:

    Have I missed your favorite go-to swimwear site? Would love to hear about more!

    Photo credit: PhotoAlt/Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collection/Getty Images


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    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    When summer rolls around, I look through my pants drawer and always decide I have way too many jeans and not nearly enough shorts. Out come the scissors, and I chop a few pairs into denim cutoffs. They're perfectly casual, comfy and relaxed, but sometimes they can use a little something extra.

    Today I want to show you how to turn your old denim into fun and unique shorts.

    Materials:

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    • Jeans
    • Scissors
    • Rhinestones or other embellishments
    • Metallic paint pen
    • Tweezers
    • Jewel-it glue

    Jeans to shorts

    1. Take your pair of jeans and lay them flat on the floor. Using another pair of shorts as a guide (optional), cut the jeans into shorts. Always cut a little longer than you want, just in case, because you can always go shorter. Try your shorts on and re-cut if needed.

    To make sure your fraying doesn't get out of control, do a straight stitch around each leg opening, about 1/2" above the cut hem. Then wash and dry your shorts and let the (controlled) fraying begin!

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    2. If you want cuffed shorts, cut them two inches longer, and then follow the instructions above to seal the frayed edge. Once the edge is sealed, cuff the hem twice for a nice rolled hem.

    Embellished shorts

    Embellished shorts were super popular in the '90s and early '00s, so I'm always a little dubious of the term "embellished denim," but as long as you do it the right way it can be modern and fun and make a pair of jeans really unique.

    1. Lay your rhinestones out on the front of your jeans and determine your placement.

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    2. Using fabric glue and rhinestones, carefully glue them into place, placing them in symmetrical rows that gradually get farther apart as you move down the leg of the jean.

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    3. Let the glue dry for 24 hours before wearing, and seven days before washing.

    Painted shorts

    For the last part of the updated denim, play around with paint. The options are really endless — you could paint polka dots, stripes, a picture on the pockets, even paint splatters. Really, you could do anything you'd like. But to tie into the embellishments already on these shorts, I just added tiny metallic polka dots to make the design fuller.

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    1. With the paint pen cap still on, shake the pen. Then depress the pen tip on a spare piece of paper until the paint runs freely. Carefully make tiny dots on the fabric where you want them.

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    Enjoy

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

    More DIY Fashion

    Turn old pajama pants into trendy track pants
    Turn a too-small dress into a chic new frock

    Add a faux necklace to revive an old sweater


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    We got Justine Piecuch, stylist at Boston's SalonCapri, to lend us her tips for scoring the style at home. "Amanda Seyfried always has the most amazing yet simple hair. She truly knows how to make a big impact with very little," Justine says.

    Get the look

    1. You can create this style with second day hair or blow out wet hair with a volumizing mousse.
    2. Gather hair slightly below the crown into a ponytail. Using a light hairspray, brush any bumps and flyaways out and secure the ponytail.
    3. Divide the ponytail into 2 sections. Twist each section in the opposite direction from one another. Then intertwine them together loosely. Secure with an elastic. Press the ends with a straightening iron to give it a nice, clean look.
    4. Spray everything once over and you're done.

    More 'dos we adore

    Zendaya's sleek ponytail
    Kendra Wilkinson's cute braid
    Kristin Cavallari's loose waves


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    Emmy Rossum

    She's done it again. Our style crush Emmy Rossum stepped out in a totally enviable outfit this week while out and about in Los Angeles.

    Emmy Rossum

    Photo credit: WENN.com

    Emmy's style has won our heart many times, and it's her almost chameleon-like looks that we love so much. She never locks herself into one style genre, and is always trying new trends while sticking to a colorful, feminine palette. Here, she looked preppy in a blue and white nautical-inspired blazer, faded denim, a crisp white blouse and a bold red bag. The menswear-inspired look took on a feminine vibe thanks to precise tailoring and fun accessories (metallic pumps and red sunnies).

    The final verdict? We'll definitely be channeling Emmy's adorable street style look for weekend and office outfits alike.

    Shop the look: Reese+Riley Prepster Blazer (the exact style Emmy's wearing) (reese-riley.com, $396)

    Shop the look: Reese+Riley Prepster Blazer (the exact style Emmy's wearing) (reese-riley.com, $396)

    Bella Thorne

    Bella Thorne is another fashionista we frequently follow, and the actress made us proud in yet another stylish red carpet appearance this week at the Young Hollywood Awards.

    Bella Thorne

    Photo credit: Bridow/WENN.com

    Bella's pale pink shift featured pretty floral embellishments on the neckline and shoulders and a high hem that accentuated the actress' long gams. She called even more attention to her leggy frame with metallic ankle strap platform heels and accessorized with bangles, pretty blue polish and a pale pink clutch. Pretty adorable, right? It's the perfect mix between youthful style and young adult sophistication.

    The final verdict? Bella might have been attending the Young Hollywood Awards, but her polished blowout and pretty berry pout made her stylish ensemble look quite mature.

    Shop the look: BLU-39 Cotton Blend Lace Dress (tjmaxx.com, $25)

    Shop the look: BLU-39 Cotton Blend Lace Dress (T.J. Maxx, $25)

    More fashion obsessions

    Selena Gomez and Sarah Hyland
    Nina Dobrev and Jessica Szohr
    Lily Collins and Emma Watson


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    Shower in the morning

    I love showering in the morning because it really wakes me up instantly. Use soap or body wash with your favorite fragrance.

    Apply lotion

    You can get a scent that matches your body wash. Lotion will keep your skin soft and supple throughout the day.

    Apply perfume

    Dab in key areas like your neck, wrist, behind the knee and under your arms. You can also get a roll-on or travel-sized spray bottle of your favorite perfume so you can bring it with you in your purse or bag.

    Stash it in your purse

    Always on the run? It's a great idea to buy a travel-size deodorant and carry it with you (or leave it in your car). If you don't have time to wash your hair, use dry shampoo.

    Stay hydrated

    Always have a water bottle with you and try to drink at least 8 cups of water a day.

    All day long beauty

    If you want your makeup to last longer, apply a foundation primer and an eyeshadow primer. After you are done with your makeup, mist a setting spray all over your face. If you are feeling a little shiny or oily, use a translucent powder or some oil-absorbing sheets.

    Simple tricks

    Use white eyeliner on your bottom lashes to make your eyes look bigger and brighter. To look young and fresh, don't forget to apply blush on the apple of your cheeks. At night, never, never, never go to sleep with your makeup on. Use a makeup remover and a night cream.

    Finally... remember that your best accessory is your smile.

    How do you stay fresh and chic all day? Share your tips with us.

    Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration with Carefree and SheKnows. All opinions are my own.

    Photo credit: ipag/iStock/380/Getty images


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  • 08/01/14--13:15: The beauty of no makeup
  • A couple of months ago, I came across this NY Times article, "Beauty Unmasked for All to See: No-Makeup Look as a New Beauty Standard." Funny enough, I've been embracing it for the last couple of years and it seems the older I get, the less I'm interested in wearing a ton of makeup.

    One of the reasons for my less-is-more approach is because of living in São Paulo, Brazil, for four years. Between the months of October and April, it's fairly hot and even more so between December and February. Air conditioning is not a standard thing in most apartments, homes and businesses, so wherever you go, the tropical heat follows you. Makeup in this type of weather would essentially melt right off.

    The other reason is time. During my years in São Paulo, I was teaching English and my days usually started at 6 a.m. and ended anywhere between 7 to 9 p.m. Having most of my classes start at 7:30 or 8 a.m., plus factoring in time to get there, the last thing I wanted to worry about was using 15 to 20 minutes to put on my face. Instead it took five minutes; curl eyelashes, a little mascara, fill in brows, cream blush on the apples of my cheeks, and gloss. OK, it's not totally a no-makeup look, but for me it was, and it allowed me to look professional at the same time.

    What's really ironic about my new no-makeup look is that for almost 15 years, I was a makeup artist. I love makeup. I love the creativity behind it, how you can transform yourself and people into many different types of personas, and how it makes you feel. I worked with some of the best brands in the business, from MAC to Stila and from Aveda to Smashbox. I also worked with all types of people in many different situations, from traveling the country doing makeup events for these brands, to working on set at music videos and films, to even being the assistant makeup artist for Paula Abdul when American Idol was just starting.

    I haven't done makeup since 2006 and, quite frankly, I don't miss it. When I reflect back on all those years, the one comment I always remember women telling me was how natural I made them look with makeup. Natural with makeup, the no-makeup look with makeup, that's the trend that everyone is embracing now. Designers like Prabal Gurung, Alexander Wang and Thakoon are creating this look for their runway shows. Celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow are all about the #nomakeup selfie. Even beauty brands like Bare Minerals are coming out with products like their new Bareskin foundation that supposedly is like a second skin.

    I know some people are linking this to feminism, but I'm not. I think in the past women were defined by their makeup and it's just not the case anymore. I think we also lead busier lives and just don't have the time, which is fine. I also think women are embracing their natural beauty more, and I find that very empowering.

    Image courtesy of www.goodtoknow.co.uk

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    The ingredients consist of purified water, epsom salts, pink Himalayan salt, organic French sea salt, dendritic salt, fractionated coconut oil and fragrance. It's a mash up of salts, really. And, it works.

    The name of this wave-making miracle? Olivine Love + Salt Beach Hair and Body Mist. You can buy a small bottle for $10 or the larger bottle for $24.

    And because Olivine is a perfume company at heart it's only natural that this salty hair spray is easy on the nose. Julie, the founder, says on her website, "If one drop of perfume puts a smile on your face... causes you to hold your head a little higher... puts a twinkle in your eye... inspires you to put a little swing in your hips... then I have done my job."

    She's done good by me.

    How I use this product: One of two ways. Air dry my hair and spray this on when it's 99.9 percent dry with a couple of finishing scrunches. Or, blow dry with my round brush and spritz this on when hair is totally dry to further define the hard-earned blow-dried curls. It's a great second day hair refresher, too.

    The other really great thing about Olivine is they donate five percent of their net sales to Every Mother Counts, an organization setting out to end preventable deaths that occur during pregnancy and child birth.

    Final word: The product works, it has four types of salt, the packaging is really pretty, and it donates to charity. This beachy hair sea salt spray is a quadruple threat and it's the first thing I'm packing for my trip to San Diego.

    More beauty products

    Is this product cocktail the secret to beating frizz?
    9 Totally affordable beauty products celebs are known to love
    Salt scrubs vs. sugar scrubs: When to use each


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