Throwback Thursday: How To Develop a Personal Style 11/09

With Spring herein sight… just around the corner…?! I thought it was only appropriate to post a process essay I wrote in 2009: How To Develop a Personal Style. Spring is all about new beginnings, reinventing yourself, or refreshing yourself. This essay was really fun to write and maybe it will inspire you!

Also, I am so overwhelmed with work and personal life that I’ve had no time to post new blogs lately, which makes me very sad. Please stay tuned for my film review of Noah, writings about my health scare with cancer, a vlog on some new beauty products, and my first week with a VitaMix!… maybe this is ambitious but I’m hoping to get to all of that this month!!!!!510b343973f9945cc5611c7d1765b579

How To Develop a Personal Style

People embrace creativity and individuality through countless types of expression; yet with so many ways of expressing oneself, there is still one aspect that every person has in common: physical presence. A person can paint a painting or construct a building, yet their physical appearance still reflects who they are. The way one looks can also transform the way one feels, so having a personal style (along with basic fashion sense) is very important. It is a statement to the world, and sometimes it just takes some self reflection, research, and experimenting to discover how one should dress. Finding a personal style is a process, but by using the following six steps as a guide, one can truly create and develop their own personal style to show off who they are to the world.

1003836_488212434587957_482577665_nStep #1: Study yourself. When deciding the best way to express yourself through clothing, you must have a good understanding of who you are. Personal style isn’t about what’s trendy or cute – it is a self-reflection. When thinking about clothes, be true to yourself and your unique fashion sense, but don’t be afraid to take chances. If you feel like you haven’t found your personal style yet, try to think outside of the box. Caution: Don’t categorize yourself! If you automatically assume you must dress “sporty” or “preppy,” you may not reach the full potential of your style. Thinking back on your childhood is a great place to start in studying yourself. Remember what you were like at your most innocent state and what inspired your imagination. Also ask yourself, “What inspires me now?” The clothes in a music video or the colors in an art piece can inspire someone’s sense of fashion.

Step #2: Study the professionals. Celebrities are wealthy, fashion-savvy, and easy to track, so choose a singer or actress you love and study their look. What is it about their style that catches your attention? If you love it, don’t be afraid to copy it. Warning: Make sure you are looking to celebrities with similar body types! Find celebrities and other experts in fashion magazines like Elle and Vogue. Also try one trend at a time; trends are not necessarily a way to discovering personal style, but it works as a good place to start experimenting with fashion. Beyond the world of fashion and Hollywood, don’t hesitate to talk to your friends who have good taste. (Ask to borrow items of clothing or accessories for a special occasion!)feb8810b8815f5293398c1028b6140cf

Step #3: Plan and prepare. At this point, you should have a good idea about the clothes you like, but it is very important to apply what you like to what is practical. A tip that cannot be stressed enough: work with your body type! Figure out your best features and show them off. A great way to find out what looks good on your body is to look back on old photos of yourself and learn from your mistakes. Also take note of things like eye color and skin tone to find colors that will look good on you. After evaluating your body type and other physical details, pick something to be your signature. A signature piece adds something special to your look and helps you stand out. If you love skirts, wearing a different kind of skirt every day would be a great signature! Other fabulous options include: dresses, heels, necklaces, rings, or even one specific color. Steps one through three take time and thought to fully achieve, but if you put in enough effort, it makes step four a blast.

Step #4: Shop! When shopping, stay focused on the research you have done in the previous steps. If needed, browse through a store’s online catalogue before shopping, or bring in photos of outfits you would like to recreate. A very important tip: try on everything! There is nothing worse than clothes that are too loose or too tight. In addition, find a tailor or learn simple hemming techniques. Nothing fits perfectly, yet a perfect fit is the easiest way to look good. Also remember to stock up on basics; you can’t own too many fun accessories or solid tops. The best places to stock up are stores like Target, Old Navy, and the Gap. (Warning: stay away from the printed clothes at Old Navy and the Gap; they’re cheap and obnoxious!)

Stores like Target, Forever 21, H&M, and Payless are great places to find inexpensive clothes. (Being stylish doesn’t require being in debt!) However, a great confidence booster to your wardrobe is one amazing, name brand piece like a Chanel bag. If you buy one amazing item (or get one for your birthday), take very good care of it and you will be able to keep it for years to come. Caution: don’t wear fakes! It’s pointless. Step four may be the hardest step in this process, so there are a lot of warnings to take note of. Remember! Don’t overdue labels; people do not care where your clothes are from and labels take away from an outfit. Also, don’t obsess over sales! Sales are great, but if you stay too focused on them, you will miss out on other great clothing opportunities. Shopping can either be a very stressful or a very therapeutic exercise, so just remember everything you did in steps one through three, take your time, and remember to work with your body type. There is a lot more to one’s personal style than clothing though, which brings us to step five.

dcaa88ee89def19cb950aa851c0b1772Step #5: Define your hair and makeup. If you love your clothes but not your hair, you have a serious problem! Hair should be unique and bold; it is a woman’s strongest accessory. The most important thing to do is listen to the experts! Most salons will give free consultations and can help find a cut, color, and product regimen that will work well for your style and your type of hair. Even if you love your hair the way it is, experiment with products to achieve maximum health and style. Warning: don’t buy hair products from Target! Target is a great place for clothes, but professional salon products are the only things that should touch your hair. Even if Target carries a professional line, many times they are expired, overpriced, and watered down.

There is a lot less risk involved with makeup; you can try things over and over again and simply wash it off if you don’t like it. If you need extra help, professional salons and department stores will do your makeup for you. Remember: you typically have to buy makeup to have it applied, but it is a great way to get cosmetic advice. If you don’t like to wear makeup, it is still something that makes a woman look put together and stylish. Mascara, bronzer, and chapstick become a great minimalistic package for those that don’t like to be too dolled up. Either way, don’t be afraid to play around with makeup to improve your personal style.

Step #6: Wear your new look and own it! You have the clothes, the hair, and the makeup to show off who you are, so what more could there be to do? Own your new look! If you do not feel confident in your clothes, don’t wear them. Yes, it can be scary to try new things, but confidence is the key to owning your personal style. If this is your first time trying something new, you will most likely receive criticism. Remember: Be critical of criticism. It’s impossible to please everyone and the most important thing about a personal style is to have it be your style. Here are some more simple (yet helpful) tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to personalize clothes yourself – get crafty and try sewing on a new collar or beaded accents.e46446919247001a7182ac2ed556acaf
  2. Never dress boring! If you’re clothes are simple and neutral, wear colorful shoes or a bold accessory.
  3. Wear dramatic pieces sparingly.
  4. Never repeat full outfits; change the necklace or add a bracelet at least.
  5. Posture will transform the way you come off to other people and will help anyone look more confident.
  6. Even if you are sick or having a bad day, never let it show in your outfit. Wear something comfortable, but still make sure it’s fitted and stylish. Not only will this help your mood, but it keeps you looking great.

 

Now that you have followed these six steps, you should feel confident, beautiful, and redefined. Just remember that the more you try, the more you can get away with. So never get stuck in one fashion box – personal style is developed and altered over time to reflect your unique self. Having your own personal style isn’t everything to life, but its one of the countless mediums of expression that should be embraced by all!

Jewelry Turned Artwork DIY

Framed Jewelry Hanger

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An affordable and practical way to organize and display your jewelry – particularly bulky or long necklaces that are the most difficult to store and protect! Enjoy 🙂

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  • Frame – $5 from Craigslist (thrifted)
  • 7/8″ White Cup Hooks – $3 from Target
  • Hammer
  • Large screw or hook to hang frame
  • 1 nail (optional)

Steps & Tips:

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  1. Based on jewelry collection, decide how many hooks you need, and plan accordingly
  2. Use hammer to gently hammer first hook into centermost point -OR- hammer a nail halfway down and remove, then replace nail with hook and complete installation (Hammering in the hooks would cause them to bend, so using a nail first helped a lot!)
  3. Space hooks out evenly (at least a 1/2″ apart) until complete
  4. Decide where to hang your frame that is practical and easy to get to on a daily basis, place screw or hook accordingly
  5. Hang jewelry on hooks, interval between “long jewelry” and “bulky jewelry,” as this is more aesthetically pleasing and allows plenty of space for each piece to hang
  6. Carefully hang your frame up and enjoy your new piece of artwork!

I had so much success with this cheap and easy 15-30 minute project that I plan to do something similar for my bracelets and rings… any ideas on how to do this? Also, if you try this project at home post your success stories + pictures below!

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We Don’t Miss You, January

In Minnesota, we’re pretty cold most of the year, and with the cold comes a lot more than fluffy mittens, cozy blankets, and crackling fires.
21 Signs That Winter Is Coming

We’re talking about days that end before they begin, constant cloud cover, runny noses, chapped hands, and don’t even get me started on the

POLAR VORTEX.

Like many Minnesotans, I have fallen victim to the dark and gloomy cloud known as “seasonal depression,” but fear not… here is a list of things to do when in need of (metaphorical) rays of sunshine to get us through the last few months of winter:

A Broke Girl’s Guide to Combatting the Winter Blues

Get outside!

I sold my car a few months ago to avoid the dreaded snow emergencies and save some money… little did I know it would have such a positive effect on my psyche! During past winters, the most fresh air and sun I got was walking up and down my driveway. Now, I have to walk – at the very least – 2 blocks to the bus stop to get anywhere. This guarantees a little dose of sunshine every day, and even the nightly walks are refreshing. Don’t want to take the bus? Bundle up and take a stroll around your block… even light activity will lift your spirits! Let’s be honest… we need to take all the sunshine we can get.

Check the forecast.

The polar vortex has truly improved my habit of checking the weather. Not only will it help you dress appropriately on a daily basis, but it’s very helpful when planing out your week . Sunny or warm days are spent buying groceries and running errands, the coldest days are spent doing laundry, cleaning, or spending “me time.” Getting together with a friend for dinner? Pick the warmest night of the week; even if the warmest night is 2 degrees, it’s better than -20!

Lay off the liquor

As much as you may want to drink in the winter to ease the misery, hangovers can be a major cause of depression. So enjoy a glass of wine… or two, or three, but know and respect your limits during the darkest months and you will be happier (and richer) for it.

Take care

This is a no brainer in our health crazed culture, but it’s true. Opt for healthier and fresher food items. For me, there is nothing like a fresh orange to take me away from winter. I am also more responsible (or paranoid) about illness, so I take vitamin C and echinacea regularly. This also means being active… find a 15 minute work out video on Youtube or try a free week of yoga!

Write a bucket list

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Write a list of activities or goals you want to do this winter and schedule at least one activity per week. Great list items include going sledding, trying a new recipe or restaurant, find a fun craft on Pinterest, play scrabble, go to a free museum night or rush tickets at the theater, the possibilities are endless! If you need help thinking outside the box, Groupon.com is a great place to find good deals on interesting activities or events… dogsledding, anyone?

Fake it till you make it… buy a lamp!

Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, as an angsty tween my parents bought me a depression lamp. 10 years later, my lamp is still in perfect working condition sitting beside my vanity. For at least 15 minutes a day, I sit under that lamp while I put on my makeup. How do I know it really helps? Well, I don’t… but I’d like to think so. For those of you who don’t know what a depression lamp is, well there are numerous types out there; even specific bulbs you can buy. These lights mimic natural sunlight and can really come in handy during darker months.

Pamper your skin

Dry skin is, (dry) hands down, my least favorite thing about winter. Suddenly my face looks pubescent, my hands look postmenopausal, and just about anything will cause my skin to break and bleed. What are the easiest and cheapest tricks? Here is a sublist:

  • COLD WATER: It sucks when you’re cold, but washing your hands and face using cool to lukewarm water will pay off. As weird as it is, water dehydrates skin and hair faster than anything… especially when it’s hot. So be kind to your skin and use hot water sparingly.
  • OIL BATHS: When you really need to warm up, run a hot bath and add oil (cooking oil works just fine and is inexpensive.) Not only will you feel relaxed and warm, but your skin will be as slippery as the streets afterwards.
  • GET A HUMIDIFIER: Can’t get a humidifier? Keep glass pans of water on top of your radiators; the heat will naturally evaporate moisture into the air.
  • LOTION & GLOVES: The best treatment for dry hands is to lube up on Aquafore (or lotion/oil/vaseline), and then put on some latex/plastic gloves. This is a great way to revive your hands overnight but I’ve also, at my lowest point, done this in the shower… yes, my hands hurt that bad.

Clean out the closet

There’s nothing quite like a perfectly organized closet, and what better time to do it than when you’re stuck indoors! Blast your favorite pandora station and throw out everything you never wear, then drop your neglected items off at the local thrift store. Even consider picking up a few new pieces on your way out… Badda bing badda boom!

Choose entertainment & choose wisely.enhanced-buzz-28186-1390410191-10

Christmas is the most wonderful time of year… but the second? MOVIE SEASON!!!!! The best movies and shows start in the winter, so use the weather as an excuse to be a couch potato! Catch up on shows you’re behind on (you STILL haven’t seen Breaking Bad?) or challenge yourself to see all the Oscar nominated movies (I’m almost there… stay tuned!) Even football or the olympics… winter can be dull for a lot of people, so the entertainment industry steps up their game for up, isn’t that nice? Also remember how music will especially effect your mood; if you’re apt to seasonal depression, you should play uplifting or relaxing music. And if all your favorite shows or movies are dramatic, dark, or scary, be sure to watch something comedic every once in awhile, even standup! If you’re not feeling cheery, put something uplifting on anyway and it may change your mind.


Arendale Take a vacation (a trip will suffice)

I’m broke as a joke and vacation is out of reach… but a trip? Why not! Take a drive to Stillwater or Duluth for the day, or find a discounted hotel on Groupon! Even if it’s still winter, getting out of your regular environment is a wonderful thing. If you’re a severe arachnaphobe (is that a word?) like me, getting out into nature can be stressful… so taking advantage of winter months to hike and explore outside is a great thing. Live away from home? Go see the family dog and have dinner with your parents! Point is, don’t torture yourself by staying in the same place all winter long.

All in all… stay busy and stay positive!

This list is not groundbreaking, but being honest and aware of your seasonal depression will empower you to make conscience choices to lift your mood. Stay busy and just remember that winter never lasts forever! (Unless you live in Westeros… sorry not sorry for that Game of Thrones reference.)

How do you keep yourself content in the winter?hbo (3858) Animated Gif on Giphy

How to Grow Out a Pixie Haircut

The pixie is bold and beautiful… most of the time. Here are a few of the best and worst styles from my grow out experience over the past 16 months. If you’re considering cutting your hair into a pixie or if you have one and have struggled to grow it out, then this is for you. Anyone else? Well enjoy looking at some really bad hair days and embarrassing selfies…

THE HAIRCUT

I rocked a pixie for 6 months and this was my final and favorite cut before I began growing it out. It was cute, sassy, and perfect for my hair texture (extra thick, very course.) Styling my hair (and not styling) was a breeze.

The Highs: Wake up looking ultra chic with no effort!

The Lows: No styling options. (Clearly I got bored and colored it 3 times within 1 month.)

Styling Options: Throw in some paste and go.

Maintenance: To maintain you will need a cut every 3-6 weeks.

Tips: Don’t get this haircut impulsively, as cute and easy as it is, don’t forget that it’s a commitment.

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1-3 Months: The Poof, Puff, & Pudge

You will be dying for a haircut by your 3 month mark… push through it! The ultra chicness is gone and you’re left with… well, something annoying.

The Highs: The mohawk! When I wanted to feel good about my hair, the mohawk was really fun. This is your only window to rock the hawk so take advantage and try it for a night out.

The Lows: Basically everything… this is the most difficult stage to get through. My hair would poof and spike when I didn’t want it to. Glasses are also very annoying with a pixie; putting my glasses on was a strategic process of placing the temples over my ears without my hair sticking out funny or getting flattened.

Styling Options: Good products, blowdrying, and straightening. Mohawk. Accessories like pins and flowers will become your best friend during this stage.

Maintenance: NO CUTTING!!!!!

Tips: Check out bob or long haired inspiration to keep your eye on the prize! It will all be okay.

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4-6 Months: The Whaaa?

If the last stage didn’t bother you, then this one will. You’ll notice more length to work with but you’re still in a “long pixie” with few options. You’ll need to get really creative with this stage.

The Highs: You’ll be able to go get a blowout for the first time, which is a great option when you need a lift in spirit or have a special occasion. You’ll also fit into a (sad excuse for a) pony for the first time (LOTS of bobby pins.)

The Lows: Styling becomes much more necessary and a bad hair day looks BAD (as shown below.) Working out headbands and working out in general is also the worst in this stage; things flop and fall and stick out easily.

Styling Options: You can try air drying with product but you’ll have more successes round brushing or straightening for the best looks. I experimented with “flips” a lot but wouldn’t recommend in hindsight. HEADBANDS!

Maintenance: NO CUTTING!

Tips: If you need something to lift your mood get a blowout, buy a new headband, or get your hair colored – no bleach.

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7-9 Months: The Mullet

This stage is called the Mullet because that’s exactly what you’ll have. When you start to notice it, rock pigtails until you can get it cut… but only cut the back! Not the front, not the top. Your stylist should be in on your goals.

The Highs: For me, air drying or diffusing was now an option and I took full advantage, getting your first trim and fitting into a  real ponytail are also major highs.

The Lows: The mullet is nasty and your hair will most likely have lots of ledges or poof goin on. For me, straightened hair did not look good in this stage.

Styling Options: Air dried/diffused with product, pigtails, ponytails and headbands

Maintenance: 1/2 haircut… cut that mullet off and NOTHING else.

Tips: Tuck your hair behind one ear to give your cut more shape.

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10-12 Months: Happy 1 Year!

You’ve made it to your 1 year mark and deserve a major pat on the back! It’s all uphill from here but don’t get too lazy, this stage still takes styling and effort to look cute.

The Highs: You’re so close to bob territory that it hurts and good hair days feel REALLY good.

The Lows: Styling is necessary and hair will feel very heavy. Bad hair days are BAD.

Styling Options: Crafty updo’s and twists, air drying/diffusing with product, or straightening

Maintenance: 1/2 haircut… cut only the back again and NOTHING else.

Tips: Dryspun Finish by Bumble and Bumble saved my life during the stage. When my hair was poofiest and craziest, I just embraced it.

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13-15 Months: The Short Bob

FINALLY, you deserve a full. on. haircut! By this point your bob is heavy and crazy and ready for change. Melt and blend those layers in and you’ll be in hair heaven.

The Highs: YOU HAVE A BOB! You can now wear your hair up, straight, wavy, curled… anything you like! Some updo’s are hard but with 500 pins a french twist is possible.

The Lows: Air drying doesn’t work as well and styling takes longer… but hey that’s what hair is!

Styling Options: Straight, wavy, curled, or up.

Maintenance: You deserve a real haircut! Blend in those layers and clean up dry ends.

Tips: You’ve worked hard… take care of your hair by using heat protectants.

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16 Months: Go Get Banged Cuz You Made It!

Although my hair growth process isn’t over, I truly feel like I made it. The back of hair is now long enough where I can fit a small curling iron comfortably without burning myself. I can also comfortably wear my hair in cuter ponies that are slightly higher. I was ready to treat myself so I had my hair colored and got bangs; at this length, bangs are perfect to open up your face and give the illusion of even longer hair.

The Highs: You feel so accomplished and the possibilities are endless!

The Lows: Your hair requires styling, especially your bangs, and more product is necessary to achieve ideal results.

Styling Options: Anything and everything, up or down.

Maintenance: Bang trims every 4-6 weeks, and I’ll probably get another haircut in 3-4 months!

Tips: Don’t get bored and rush into another pixie cut! Take advantage of your hard work and have fun.

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More Tips for Anyone Growing Their Hair Out

  • If your hair has been stuck at the same length forever, know that genetically your hair can only grow to a certain length; some people will have longer hair than others… it’s just the way it is.
  • Lube that shit! Dry hair is more apt to become brittle and split, and keeping your ends healthy is vital to growing out long beautiful hair. Using hair oils while styling, before bed, etc are great. I would even douse my hair in olive oil before taking hot showers to buffer the water.
  • Showers: Wash your hair minimally and try to use look warm to cool water when washing or conditioning your hair. Use high quality shampoos and conditioners that are moisturizing or protecting your hair. Try skipping a shampoo and only conditioning, or keeping your hair in a pony or towel.
  • Hair pills are questionable by some, but I used them and saw results. But don’t overdue them… (that’s a whole other story.)
  • Try not to backcomb too often… certain stages will be more necessary but if it’s your day off put a hat on instead.
  • I styled and colored my hair as little as absolutely possible… it makes for a lot of bad hair days but in the end I think it was worth having long hair that is also healthy.
  • Try to skip bleach. I opted but darker blondes throughout my process and only used bleach in the last 3 months of growing out. And get your hair colored professionally, please.
  • When my hair wasn’t as fashion forward as I would have liked, I depended on makeup to give me a little boost. And care for your skin just as much as your hair.
  • Always remember there’s a light at the end of the tunnel… be patient, be creative, and feel beautiful!!!!!

Happy Growing!