The Non-Traditional Bride: Featuring Gowns by Vera Wang

More and more brides are going away from traditional color schemes and doing what makes them feel beautiful even if it breaks rules.

When I was planning my wedding, I absolutely fell in love with the idea of doing a colorful bridal gown.

The first gown to really captivate me was the “Josephine” by Vera Wang.

Vera Wang
She’s a dream. I felt like I was in a fairy tale when I donned this gown. Photo Credit: Vera Wang.

The more I looked into non-traditional dresses, the more it felt right for me and it seemed that Vera is the mother of all non-traditional beauties.

Vera Wang
The Kaye gown sparked an idea in me that I thought was so grand! I would wear red and we would, otherwise, make it a black and white affair. Photo Credit: Vera Wang.
The Kaye dress by Vera Wang.
When I stepped into the “Kaye” gown, my skin transformed from fair to radiant. The women in the VW store were beside themselves at the site this gown that they had only seen on two other woman. I can see it all over my face that I was struck by this dress in a way I hadn’t anticipated.
The Kathleen Dress by Vera Wang
The “Kathleen” stole my heart. My namesake; it was meant to be.  And it fit the black, white and red theme I had stuck in my head.  Photo Credit: Vera Wang.
The Kathleen Dress
Vera created the stretch fabric for the bodice. The fabric felt heavy and soft at the same time. It was so flattering and I felt absolutely stunning in this gown.
The Kirsten Dress by Vera Wang.
The “Kirsten” dress by Vera Wang. Perfect for those interested in a more orange red.
The Gemma Dress in red by Vera Wang
The “Gemma” dress was not listed as available in red, but the store had one that was custom made. I fell immediately for the flowy train.  I planned to dye my hair a striking shade of red for the wedding and I was in taken with the idea of wearing the red gown with red hair.
Gemma dress by Vera Wang.
For the sake of exploring all of my options, I tried on the Gemma in blush pink.  I now loved at least four dresses.  I had some decisions to make.

I thought of completely throwing tradition to the wind and wearing red for our American (non-denominational) ceremony and wearing white for our Hindu ceremony (because traditional Hindu brides wear red).  While this would be a very “me” thing to do, I wasn’t sure that it would be culturally appropriate or sensitive for those in our families who had a more traditional idea of what our wedding should be.

I toyed with the idea of wearing red for both, but I worried that I would look back and wish I’d worn white.

I ended up deciding to go with blush pink and I found a dress in Arizona similar to the one I found in LA at the Vera Wang flagship store.

Ginger Dress by Kitty Chen.
The “Ginger” dress by Kitty Chen. Photo Credit: Kitty Chen.
Ginger Dress by Kitty Chen
My blush pink wedding gown, “Ginger” by Kitty Chen.
Hindu bride
I wore a traditional red bridal lengha choli for the Hindu Ceremony.
Me in my Lengha
My father and I walking to the Mandap.

A part of me does wish that I had gone with the Kathleen dress and run with the Black and White Affair theme.  I think I could have planned a really spectacular event.  Our wedding was gorgeous and there was a lot of myself in the decor, which our guests appreciated.  I also ended up getting the itch to make a dress about three weeks before the wedding.  I don’t recommend taking on such a big project before your big day, but it turned out lovely and I wore the white dress I made for the reception.

My white reception dress
My white reception dress.
My wedding reception dress.
I’m really glad I made this dress because it was so much more comfortable and easy to wear than the structured dress I wore for the ceremony.  After all was said and done, I wore the gambit of all the colors I wanted from red to pink to white.

As we close in on our one year anniversary this Sunday, I would like to wish the brides-to-be out there all the best and I encourage you to go all out and make it your own.   Have the courage to do what you want and your guests will see you in it and love your wedding even more because of it.


Proportions can make or break an outfit

Styling proportions correctly can be tricky, but it makes all the difference.

I’ll take you through a round of different tops to demonstrate some basic proportion rules.

The goal is to do a cute outfit with shorts and black tights.  We’ve already learned about proportions relative to shoes in this past post “It’s all about the shoes,” so following those guidelines, we know that if I want to have long lean legs, I should cap off black tights with a black shoe.  Tights can be tricky for shorter girls because different colors separate the look into different segments, but it can be done right.

Learn to style proportions properly
The white shirt is such a contrast to the grey shorts and black tights that we have 3 clearly different sections of this outfit. I love this Rag and Bone top, but it’s probably not the right fit for these shorts. I won’t be fooling anyone into thinking I’m taller than 5’1″ in this number.
This pop of color also does the same as the white top. The contrasting colors cause the eye to divide each section and notice the length of each individually. Don't worry though, I'll demonstrate great ways to wear color in the future, but with the black tights, a black shirt is probably going to be the best option.
This pop of color also has the same effect as the white top. The contrasting colors cause the eye to divide each section and notice the length of each individually. Don’t worry though, I’ll demonstrate great ways to wear color in the future, but with the black tights, a black shirt is probably going to be the best option.
This is the top I've landed on. Less of the contrasting grey shows with the length of this top. I appear taller and more confident with the smaller break in color from the short. There is an illusion of length because the eye is carried from the boots all the way up without focusing on the segmented shorts area.
We’re getting warmer!  Less of the contrasting grey shows with the length of this top.  My midsection is lengthened- a great trick if you’re midsection is short and you’re trying to make it look longer.   However, I liked the look of the higher waist to lengthen my legs.
Learn to style proportions correctly.
This black top works well.  The length is just right for showing off my legs.
This is the top I liked best for my body type. The high waist on the shorts gives length to my legs, the cropped top allows you to see the narrowest part of my waist. I did decide to wear it with a solid top underneath, so the midsection wouldn't be segmented by the sheer area beneath the mesh.
This is the top I liked best for my body type. In addition to lengthening my legs like the last top, the cropped top allows you to see the narrowest part of my waist, which flatters my figure. I did decide to wear it with a solid top underneath, so the midsection wouldn’t be segmented by the sheer area beneath the mesh.
Which one do you think works best? See the differences?
Which one do you think works best? See the differences?
Take a look at all three styles.
Take a look at all three styles.  I feel great in the outer two because I feel like I’m dressing my best self.

How do we do a jacket with this look?

Learn to style proportions
I would go for the black jacket on the left over the cozy grey jacket for a few reasons. First, adding another color breaks up the look. Second, the grey jacket is meant to be zipped, whereas the black jacket looks great unzipped. The difference in length from the top adds interest to the look and the panels of black created on the shorts from the jacket create a slimming color-blocking effect. You should always try to have your jacket fall at a slightly different length as your top.
This is how I actually wore this top for a night out on the town.
This is how I actually wore this outfit for a night out on the town.  Pictures are always easier when you aren’t taking them yourself!  😉
Accessories are always key.
Accessories are always key.

If you feel great in an outfit, but it breaks a few rules, so be it!  It’s about feeling like you are putting your best self out there and feeling confident when you step out of the house.


How to clean makeup brushes- The Easy Way!

How often should you clean makeup brushes? Ideally, once a week.

How to clean makeup brushes properly and have them dry over night. Pin now, read later

Skipping washes can lead to caked on makeup and oil on your brushes.  Dirty brushes allow bacteria to grow and contribute to break outs.  yuck!

When I purchased my first set of brushes about 10 years ago, I also purchased the fancy brush shampoo that came with my brushes.  I tried to use it, but it left my brushes wet for a good 36 to 48 hours.  This is not convenient at all.

Who can actually wet wash brushes once a week and wait from them to dry?  I can’t just not use them for a day, so I did some asking around and a beauty expert helped me find a quick way to wash and dry them. Continue Reading

Artist Spotlight: Garance Doré

Garance Doré: Fashion/Style blogger, illustrator, writer for paris vogue and overall authority on all things fashion

In an every changing world of media, it is not surprising that majority of millennials are turning to bloggers and social media platforms to find out what they should be wearing.  It is no longer necessary to wait for an issue of your favorite monthly magazine to arrive to see what’s going on in fashion.  Log on to Instagram, search #style or #fashion and the photos are endless.

So who should we be watching?  Today, I bring to you one of the biggest influencers on social media: Garance Doré.

I first learned of Garance Doré via a published list of bloggers worth following.  I fell in love with her illustrations and followed her studio account @studiodore where she shares photos from her daily work at her studio.

Garance Doré Studio Account - @studiodore Garance Doré Studio Account - @studiodore Garance Doré Studio Account - @studiodore Garance Doré Studio Account - @studiodore

After following her studio for a while, I became aware that there was a whole blog behind the beautiful illustrations that I loved.  I began following the Garance Doré Instagram page @garancedore.

Her photos are beautifully taken and the topics piqued my interest.  The Garance Doré blog covers fashion, beauty, lifestyle, shopping and more.

Garance Doré on Instagram Garance Doré on Instagram

Garance Doré on Instagram

Garance Doré is thought revered by many fashion moguls and “it girls” of the blogging world an authority on all things fashion.  Doré has written for Vogue Paris, received the CFDA Eugenia Sheppard Media Award 2012, and been featured in a number of articles.  For more on Garance Doré, read: Meet Garance.

I invite you to meet Garance today because she’s just announced her new book Love Style Life is available for pre-order.  I can’t wait to stroll through the pages. Her work is a daily influence and a reminder to me what I would like my contribution to fashion to be.

It’s important to always look to others for inspiration, while staying true to your own art.


How to Use Dry Shampoo and Review of Drybar Triple Sec 3 in 1

When you can’t wash your hair every single day, dry shampoo is life, but do you really know how to use dry shampoo?  Make sure you’re getting the most out of your product.

Triple Sec 3 in 1 Dry Shampoo by Drybar Review:

Hair stylists tell us not to wash our hair every day.  Yeah yeah, but what about when I hit the gym and my hair is gross and flat?!

Before Picture: Dry Shampoo that really works!
Before Picture- Here you see me about 36 hours since my last hair wash. Yes, I shower more frequently :p I just use a cap. Hair is looking pretty flat and lifeless.

How to Use Dry Shampoo:

To apply dry shampoo, separate areas around your crown and spray into your roots.   This should leave your hair feeling a bit damp.  Then use your hair dryer to dry your roots.  I try to use low heat or the cool setting.  The only time I ever need to use the heat to do dry shampoo is if my hair is really sweaty from a workout- which this stuff works wonders on as well.

This is after the application of Triple Sec Dry Shampoo.
This is after the application of DrybarTriple Sec 3-in-1.

What I love best about this product is that it goes on feeling a bit wet like hairspray instead of a powdery dry spray.  I have used a variety of dry shampoos and when I was naturally blonde it really didn’t matter one from the other, but after I went dark, the white spots were obvious and difficult to disguise.  I’ve also used dry shampoo on my husband’s black hair.  In the photo below, we have both used this product before stepping out.  No white spots!

Dry Shampoo that doesn't leave white spots on even the darkest of hair.
A rare hubs spotting on the blog!

Since he’s been growing his hair out, we’ve tried a number of dry shampoos on it and Drybar is the only one that hasn’t left icky white spots and flakes in his hair.  Black hair is the ultimate test and this product passes with ease!

The before and after transformation.
The before and after transformation with just the use of dry shampoo.

How to use dry shampoo the right way.This is quite a transformation!  My hair is now prepped and ready to be styled (in about 5 minutes).

The final look! And btw, even though my hair could use a good scrub, it now smells delightful and feels clean to the touch.

The final look! And btw, even though my hair could use a good scrub, it now smells delightful and feels clean to the touch.   In the above pic my hair only has Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 in it; no other products were used.

I always giveaway my best finds.  Be sure to check out the current giveaway to win the awesome products I find.

Now you can follow on Bloglovin! 

Jumpsuit Fever

Jumpsuits are chic and on trend right now.

Rent The Runway Jumpsuit
Hunter Bell Bright Side Jumpsuit available for rent.  Also in black.

Getting a jumpsuit that fits right and flatters your figure is the key to getting the look.  The most difficult area to fit is the torso length.  Be sure to try the jumpsuit on ahead of time or read reviews if you are planning to rent a jumpsuit for an event.  I always take advantage of the free second size from Rent the Runway.

Hunter Bell Bright Side Jumpsuit- Available on RTR
Hunter Bell Bright Side Jumpsuit– Available on RTR

What I love best about fit of this jumpsuit is that it is snug around the natural waist (the smallest part of your waist- usually considerably higher than where we wear most of our pants).  The natural waistline makes me look slim, while the pants are looser and even have pleats for added fullness around the hips.  This makes my athletic build a bit more like an hourglass.

Hunter Bell Bright Side Jumpsuit
Hunter Bell Bright Side Jumpsuit

The neckline on this jumpsuit is shaped similarly to a racer back.  This shape creates an hourglass illusion which compliments the bust area.  I skipped the necklace because the shape is so gorgeously crafted and I wanted that to be the focus at the neckline.  The topstitching over the bust area frames the bust nicely as well.  The topstitching at the waistline combined with ‘V’ shaped top, create a slimming effect.

Oxblood Prada Pumps
Oxblood Prada Pumps

The zipper closure allows for the pant to hug the ankle and rest over the top of the shoe, which makes the whole leg look longer.  If you wanted to look as tall as possible, you would pair this pant with a white or nude shoe.  I chose to add a pop of color and I LOVE that this year’s Pantone color of the year is Oxblood.

Purple Prada Sunnies
Purple Prada sunnies for another pop of color.
Prada bag with Anarchy Street Jewelry
Prada bag and Anarchy Street Jewelry. Use offer code Kate_10 for 10% off your Anarchy Street purchase.

I chose a larger bag because I was attending a semi-casual charity event.  Since the outfit reads glam, the oversized bag tones the look down.

Anarchy Street Jewelry
Nailed It bangle $28, Slave to the Game bracelet ( 🙁 no longer available), Parallel Crossing Ring set $36. Use offer code Kate_10 for 10% off your Anarchy Street purchase.

If you’ve got jumpsuit fever too, be daring and go for it!  Proper fit and styling will get you the rocking look you’re going for.


Alexander McQueen: A Legacy

Alexander McQueen is the most influential designers of our generation.  His work changed the way we view and experience fashion entirely.  He combined fashion with expression of race, emotion, sexuality, religion and more for the first time.  For McQueen, fashion was about expression of self and perceptions.

Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment. –Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen
McQueen was a master at forcing emotion upon the audience. This photo makes me feel like I am inside a dream.  Photo Credit:  The Met Museum  
Alexander McQueen "Savage Love"
The Met Museum gallery “Savage Beauty” paid tribute to McQueen in 2010.

He is known for recognizing the beauty in sadness and expressing that feeling through his work.

There is something sinister, something quite biographical about what I do – but that part is for me. It’s my personal business. I think there is a lot of romance, melancholy. There’s a sadness to it, but there’s romance in sadness. I suppose I am a very melancholy person.– McQueen

Alexander McQueen
More from the Met Museum.  Photo Credit: Those Hardings Blog
Alexander McQueen
Technical genius.  Photo Credit:
Alexander McQueen
After leaving Givenchy, McQueen’s work became more creative and he brought the world ideas that had never before been expressed or thought possible. Photo Credit:    

I treated Givenchy badly. It was just money to me. But there was nothing I could do: the only way it would have worked would have been if they had allowed me to change the whole concept of the house, to give it a new identity, and they never wanted me to do that. –McQueen,

McQueen featured Kate Moss as a hologram 2006
For his Autumn/ Winter 2006 line, McQueen featured a hologram of model, Kate Moss, floating above the stage.  Photo Credit:

Give me time and I will give you a revolution.– McQueen.

Sadly, the designer shared his life with the world for only 41 short years.  Though he lost his life to suicide, his work and influence will reign over fashion forever.


Sweater Revival

The easy way to get rid of pills on your sweaters and t-shirts!

I used to think that when my sweaters and t-shirts started to pill, it was the beginning of the end.

This t-shirt has seen much better days.

This t-shirt has seen much better days.

Lots of pinterest pinners are reviving old clothes with a shaving razor.  It works ok in a pinch, but the thinner the fabric, the more likely you are to tear your shirt.  You need to be extra careful that you keep the fabric completely flat if you’re going to use a razor.

I prefer to use a battery powered lint shaver because it has a guard on it.  You still need to be careful to keep the fabric flat, but you be much less likely to put a hole in your fav sweater.

Lint shaver used on the left side of the shirt has removed all the pills.
You can see how the left side of the shirt where I used the Dritz Lint Shaver $9, has removed the pills.

There are a variety of lint shavers available from Amazon, Target, Walmart and Joanns Fabrics.  Think of all the money you will save by rescuing your favorite pieces!


Perfect Pouty Lip Tutorial

Bold oxblood lips are in this fall…

get the perfect pouty look

Oxblood, the 2015 Pantone color of the year, is flattering to all skin tones.  Notice how the brown in the color comes out on this model below.  Yet, you will notice the purples and reds that shine through against my fair complexion.

Refinery 29: Bold Lip
I am in love with the lux super saturated dark lips that are in this fall.  Photo: Refinery 29

The only problem with it is that I never really learned to do lipstick the right way, so I felt like a clown!  That’s no bueno!  I hit pinterest and found all of the best tips and when to use them.

Before you apply any color lipstick, you should always exfoliate your lips.  You can use regular sugar, a damp wash cloth or an exfoliating product like this one from Fresh.  This will ensure your lips look smooth and soft after you apply lipstick.

Next you’ll want to apply concealer around the edges of your lips (think where you will be putting lip liner).  Then blend it in.

How to properly apply dark lipstick
This will make the lipliner look clean and contrasted to your skin.

I have always struggled the most with applying lip liner.  It’s important to stay symmetrical and natural with the shape.  I could never get this right and I think it’s because I don’t have a very pronounced cupid’s bow to use as a guideline.  Cupid’s bow is the downward curvature at the center of the top lip.  I was always trying to make mine look more defined and in the process, I would end up with uneven, asymmetric lipliner.  🙁  Lips can vary a lot, so I’m here to show you a simple way to apply liner that will bring out the shape you want.

How to properly apply lipstick.

To help you create a perfectly shaped top/ bottom lip, you should mark points for guidelines.  Draw a point at the peaks of your top lips, the bottom of the cupid’s bow and halfway from the peak to the corner of the mouth.  If you need to, you can mark the bottom lip as shown.

How to properly apply lip liner
This will keep you from making an error freehand and smudging up your lipliner as you try to fix it.
Simply connect the dots.
Simply connect the dots.  You can see that by drawing points, I now have a noticeable cupid’s bow, and it’s even!

Next you’ll need to fill in the sides of the bottom lip and bring the top liner down a little.   You want to leave the round part of your bottom lip free of lip liner, so it will be slightly lighter after lipstick application, which will add fullness.

How to properly apply lip liner.
Notice that the corners of my bottom lip are filled in and I’ve extended the liner of the top lip lower. If I wanted to go for a darker lip at night, I could fill in more of my bottom lip.

Now we are ready to fill in with lipstick.  For a more precise application, you can use a brush.  If you want a dark saturated lip, you can do up to 3-4 applications blotting in between, but make sure you are patting your lips with a tissue and not squeezing the tissue between your lips.  This keeps the lipstick from wearing off unevenly or smudging.

If you want a glossy lip, now is the time to add a little gloss.  If you want a matte look, you can hold a tissue up to your lips and use a make-up brush to gently rub foundation powder on the tissue

How to properly apply lipstick
Applying powder through a tissue gives a matte finish.

This also helps to set the lipstick and keep it from bleeding.  If you want more of a dramatic matte finish, you can apply a very small amount of powder directly to the lips.

I like to finish off the look by dabbing a small amount of highlighter or concealer just at the cupid’s bow.  This adds a nice contrast to the lip liner and cleans up any bleeding that’s happened from the application or blotting process.

How to apply lipstick properly
The final look!


Distressed Jeans Tutorial

Get the look from jeans you already have in your closet

Ripped Jeans Tutorial- How to leave the strings intact
I used this technique to turn old pants into these shorts.  See the full look.

I’ve done this more than a few times, so if you have any troubles or varying results, message me and I’ll help you out.