Love My Zella

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Several years ago I didn’t even know what Zella activewear was. Now it’s one of my favorite lines. It’s an exclusive Nordstrom brand.

Zella pieces are fitted and stylish. They don’t look like typical “sweats” and are not just for the gym. I love wearing Zella on my days off. It is so comfortable, yet you can still look put together.

The jackets are fitted and don’t look boxy. I love the great seaming. You have some choices in fabrics. The jackets can be heavier and therefore warmer, the last photo shows a fabric that is very lightweight.

These are great jackets to wear to the gym OR out/about.

There are plenty of more casual choices for the gym. The Zella short sleeved tees are wonderful. They have ruched sides–yes you can even choose flattering pieces for the gym.

 Then there are the pants which are my personal favorites of the the line. They are reversible which gives you a dull and a shiny side. This allows you to wear the leggings, for example, with a sweater or top and it won’t look like gym clothes.

The Booty Fit and Balance Fit are very similar. You will get a nice fitted leg with a “boot-cut” bottom. The Balance Fit is the style I wear. This is going to be similar to fitting in a nice pair of jeans. They will be fitted in the thighs and you will feel like they are too tight. But the slightly flared leg helps balance out the fitted thigh. The Booty Fit is a little more fitted than the Balance Fit. Overall, they are so much more flattering than the baggy sweats from days past that many of us still own AND wear.

Then there is the Soul Fit with a full leg from the thigh to the ankle. The capri looks pretty comfortable too although I haven’t tried them on.

Whether it’s Zella or another brand, be sure and keep your casual wardrobe up to date too. It’s Ok to look great walking into the gym or when you are running errands.

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Jiffy Esteam Review

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One of the first blog posts I wrote tackled the topic of steaming vs ironing your clothes. My steamer has been on its “last leg” for a while, so I’ve been doing the research on what I wanted to purchase to replace it.

If you are new here, let’s start with a quick review on why I believe you want to invest in a steamer. First of all, I want to emphasize that a steamer cannot take the place of ironing when you need a crease or crisp shirt collar.

There are many more times that I need a quick touch up rather than a crease and the steamer fills that need. It’s a huge time saver and I think it is easier than ironing. The steamer gets in the hard to reach corners and I don’t have the “shiny spots” the iron leaves on some fabrics. I like steaming my jeans. It’s so easy to steam around the pockets. My husband has also discovered the benefits of steaming and steams way more than he irons.

My $25 steamer from Costco has served me well, but I decided I did not want to go with the upright model that is a little cumbersome. Would a travel steamer be powerful enough?

I started to do my research and after a great deal of reading I decided on the Jiffy Esteam Travel Steamer. I decided to buy one for my college son who HATES to iron. And quite honestly, I have to admit being in the same position in college. Who had time to iron and who really cared? However, he works part-time in an office and has to look presentable so ironing is a necessity.

The steamer is  hit and he is quite pleased with how easy it is to make his clothes look great.

The only downside I can find with this steamer is the fact that it has a small water canister so it needs to be filled frequently. You are only able to do a few garments before a refill. I rarely press more than a few garments at a time, so this negative really didn’t seem like a bad thing to me.

The website gives lots of helpful information. I especially liked this explanation and diagrams showing steaming vs ironing.

You can also purchase an upright steamer from Jiffy that received good reviews as well.

 

 I ordered from Amazon. Google the Jiffy Esteam for more sources.

Let me know if steaming is the answer to your ironing woes.

 

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Fall Trends 2012: The Color Red

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I’m back! Yes, I’ve been on a blogging hiatus. Every so often I need to take a couple of weeks and get re-motivated, gather new ideas and research. My topic list is now long for the next few months. Also, be sure and follow me on Facebook to see quick photos of new styles and trends.

School is back in session as for this week for the entire country now I believe. The weather is turning in some areas and we’re feeling cooler in the morning and evening. Fall is probably my favorite time of year and I LOVE wearing trying out new fall fashion.

Today I’m continuing the series on Fall Trends. Spring was all about color; this fall that trend continues.  2012 brings us very rich shades of red in all the stores. Call it burgundy, merlot or  bordeaux, it is definitely a turn to a darker, rich red rather than a bright “Christmas” red.

It looks beautiful with most anything, but my favorite way to wear it is with charcoal gray. Have fun choosing an outfit or accessory with a deep red. You just can’t go wrong. This shade is trendy and classic at the same time. Still not ready to embrace color? Remember it’s all about one piece at a time. Start with a dark red handbag, scarf or piece of jewelry to offset your neutrals. I think you will find this shade of red very easy to wear.

Fall Trend 2012: Rich Shades of Red
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The Ups and Downs of Technology

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I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years. In the last 3 months I’ve appeared to have more technical difficulties than the last three years. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say it is becoming more/more difficult to blog with the tools. Blogging is great when everything works the way it is supposed to and goes smoothly!

I now have a new format on my blog and my TOP 20 PICKS was published before it was complete. If you click on this title  it will direct you to the full version.

Thanks for your patience as I struggle through the ups and downs of technology!

 

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Let’s Hear it From YOU!

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It’s time again to request feedback from you, my readers.

Recently I met one of my readers when I was out and about. She recognized me!  Now, as a blogger, this is a very interesting concept. As I’ve mentioned before, blogging can be a lonely world–one that does not provide you with face/face contact. You start by introducing your blog to family, friends and business contacts. You hope they will pass it on. Using assorted avenues to get your blog more exposure, you slowly hope that it will catch on and be well received. Eventually your readership becomes primarily strangers you do not know or will ever meet in person.

Because of these  characteristics unique to blogging, it makes it even MORE fun to meet a reader in person. Reality hits. Yes, people are out there reading that I don’t know and will never meet. It’s a really strange concept to say the least.

We chatted for a few minutes and I took the opportunity to ask what SHE would like me to write about. After giving her suggestions, this reader was also quick to say…
“But maybe that is not what the majority of your readers want to hear.”

The bottom line is, I really like to ask for feedback periodically because I want to write about topics that pertain to YOU. Many fashion blogs have a certain audience. It’s probably fair to say that I speak to 40+ readers. At the same time, I know that I have twenty something and thirty something readers. 

We as bloggers don’t know many details about readers unless they make a comment. And I know from the statistics, that there are many more reading that commenting. Every time a reader unsubscribes I wonder if it is due to content.

So now it’s time to turn it over to you. In a recent comment one reader asked for posts about new spring trends. I’ve been covering that off and on. Recently I’ve covered hairstyles and skin care which are also such a big part of your overall image.

Here are some questions. You can pick one or answer all.

1. Is there a topic you would like me to cover?

2. Would you like to see more or fewer posts? (currently I post about 2 times a week)

3. Keeping in mind that not every post will be of interest, do the majority of my posts speak to you?

4. I have mixed it up lately, but would you like to see longer or shorter posts?

You can answer in your comment like this to make it easy.

1. Going gray gracefully

2. More

3. yes

4. no opinion

Thank you very much! I have long list of ideas and hopefully it will be on track with your comments.

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Color Blocking: Part 2

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Last week I showed a layout with one of Spring 2012′s new trends: Color Blocking. It’s not a new concept by any means, but it’s all over this spring.

Using a site called Polyvore, I like to show quick layouts of outfits so you could duplicate it on your own perhaps from other sources. It’s also a fun way to show merchandise from sites I would never go to or even know about if it weren’t on Polyvore. Sometimes the things are reasonably priced, other times not. The visuals come from all over and I like to show a little bit of everything.

If you didn’t like those ideas of color blocking, perhaps some pictures from stores you are used to shopping will give you a little different idea. Right now you can put Color Block in the search box of any major store and a number of designs will pop up.

From Nordstrom

         Caslon                                           Vince Camuto

           Eliza J                                             Bailey 44    

  

                                          

White House Black Market

What do I think? I’m not sure what I will choose if anything. I do like many of the color block styles. I like the way bold solid colors are mixed together. I like the fun patterns that created with creative color blocking. I think that many of the styles I have shown are extremely flattering–particularly the dresses.

Dark colors minimize. Color blocking can work to your advantage if you want to minimize a certain body part. The band of white around the Vince Camuto dress creates a more defined waistline just by varying the blocks of color. As one reader pointed out, this style is a great way to transition into pattern if that just isn’t your thing.

Perhaps this trend isn’t for you. You do not have to try every new trend that is out there.

What do you think? Will you give it a try this spring?

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Faux Fur: Are You a Fan?

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Faux fur started making a comeback last season. I bought a fur vest and a leopard shrug from Cabi. I love both of them. This year fur is everywhere. I think it’s a nice option for a holiday outfit if you do not like sparkle. It can be a little dressy or worn with jeans. Fur can be very classy or it can add a little “edge”. It crosses the age groups and can be great if your twenty something or seventy!

As you can see from all the different photos below, you can go all out or add it in small increments. Are you a fan of fur? If so, would you choose a jacket, vest or shrug, or start small with fur trimmed gloves or a fur collar?

(all selections are from Nordstrom.com)

So let’s hear it for fur. What would you choose?

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Land’s End Does it Right

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Recently I received a Land’s End catalog in the mail. I ordered from Land’s End frequently in the ’90s. As I’ve said before, my style and tastes have changed the last decade. I got out of the habit of ordering. The catalogs stopped arriving and Land’s End was not on my shopping radar.

I have always appreciated the superb quality and excellent customer service they provided. From coats to luggage, Land’s End features some amazing products and are known for their classic styles and reasonable prices.

As I thumbed through their catalog, the Ponte Knit selections caught my eye and I just had to share! I liked the way they described this awesome fabric I’ve written about previously.

“Get the Ponte…the knit that stands, sits and moves all day long and looks great doing it”  and “Ponte combines the polish of a woven with the comfort of a knit. In short, it’s pretty much the perfect fabric.” Thanks Land’s End for saying it so well!

While I did not care for every piece and how they styled it online (more appealing in the catalog), here are my favorites I thought worth mentioning.

Above: the Demi Boot Cut. I always like a good tweed pattern when I see it.  It’s an easy way to “pattern mix” because a tweed is really just a more interesting solid.

Herringbone skirt

Are you a Land’s End fan? Check out their site this weekend and receive 30% off your order through the 28th. (plus free shipping)

Last chance to enter the Hairstyle Giveaway: Deadline is Nov 26th at 9 pm PST

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Hairstyles: Part 2

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 I continue my interview with Brenda Stanton of Nico Bella Salon in Camas, Washington.

K: When doing color analysis, hair, skin and eye colors dictate what direction I go. When you make a recommendation for overall color and/or highlights do you look at skin, eyes or both?

B: I look at skin tone. I see many women who want that beach blond look, and it really is not the best with with their skin tone. There is also many who have an over processed look and that is “out” as well.

K: What are the current trends in color?

B: Warm browns–shades of carmel. All over color with no highlights is in. We are also seeing subtle highlights and not as “chunky” The trend is  VERY natural looking.

K: What is a universal cut that looks good on MOST women?

B: Graduated bob– it’s especially great for fine hair as it makes it look thicker. Collar bone length is a great length for many women.

K: Do you ever look at body type in addition to face shape? Is there something to balancing the hair and the body type?

B: Yes, petite women look better with collar bone length or a bob cut. Many women with this body type want big hair and it almost has the opposite effect and makes them look smaller.

K: If a client with long hair asks my advice on a cut, I suggest going in stages by starting with a few layers around the neckline and face, still allowing them to pull it back. I find that women who have had long hair for years struggle the most to style their hair because it’s been pretty low maintenance. Do you agree?

B: Yes!

K: I also see women with very thick hair, almost unmanageable. I’ve heard that it is all in the cut–thinning. The mistake many stylists make is not taking enough hair out in order for it to lay right.

B: This is true. Layers are also important!  Blending–not just thinning. The stylist needs to use a thinning shears. The layers need to be the right length or that will throw off the style and how the hair lays.

Below are some photos of longer, layered hair styles. I’m a big fan of layers. Although I have fine hair, my hair stylist has suggested that I will always be one that needs layers–not an all one length bob. I agree. I am actually trying to grow out my hair a little, but I will always have some layers.

K: What is the biggest change in hair products in the last few years?

B: Hair texture oils–argon oils to protect from heat. Root boosts–even in powder form are great. Keratin smoothing treatments that are formaldehyde free. It’s a great treatment for curly hair. It won’t straighten yet it softens curl  and cuts drying time in half.

(Karen’s Note: Ask your stylist for the best, latest products for you. It’s very individual. For example, great strides have been made in products for fine hair. I can’t believe the volume I can get with root boosts compared to years ago.)

Are you ready for a new look? Brenda is offering a Free haircut/style!! Make a comment and you’ll be entered. Contest ends Saturday, November 26. 2011 at 9 pm PST.

In addition, you’ll receive 10% off any service if you mention Style by Karen when you call.

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Facial Giveaway Winner

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Congratulations to Comment # 2–Tami  who is the winner of a facial by Deborah! Please check out Deb’s very informative site. If you book an appointment in the next week you will receive 20% Off your service. This offer expires 10-22-11.

If that timing is not convenient for you, be sure and mention Style by Karen when you call to book an appointment and you’ll receive 10% off. This is a standing offer.

As I mentioned in my last post, in addition to a fairly strict daily regimen,  a facial 1-2 times a year, I really have not done anything extraordinary to my skin. My water intake is “streaky”. I love sugar and caffeine. I HAVE watched my sun exposure and this has probably made the biggest difference.

After hitting a new decade in August, I wanted to get Deb’s recommendation for me in the next years. I think it is fair to say that when you hit your Forties and Fifties, you will see changes in your skin. If you haven’t already–it’s coming!

My last blog post was VERY general in some recommendations for each age group. As you can imagine, there is quite a variance in women even within one decade. It is really key to talk to a professional to provide individual advice.

For myself, Deb noticed a difference in the aging process between my face and neck/decollete. The reasoning is simple: I have not been as careful in the sun with that area. I would also like to add that women do not moisturize this area like the face–I’m guilty of that as well.

She recommended a peel. I had never tried this process.

First, Deborah tried some different productson an area of my skin to test any sensitivity. Next, I was given some trial size products to use on my face a week before the peel. This simply took the place of my usual routine.

Since we just decided to do my neck/decollete, the process was very fast. I was told I could expect some peeling but instead I just was a little sensitive the next few days. It was a bit itchy, but no visible redness, rash or any other discomfort.

My next step is microdermabrasion and I’ll report back on that as well. I feel very fortunate to have met Deb. Already I have learned a great deal.

I really love it when this blog becomes more interactive. For that to happen I need to hear from you!  Make a comment and ask some questions. With Deb’s help, we’ll be glad to answer them.

Remember, to make a comment, CLICK on the title of the article in your e-mail which will take you to my home page. It will say “leave a comment” in the upper right hand corner if you’re the first one or just “comments” if there are others. When you click there, a box pops up for you to write it. It’s that easy! And it does work from your I-phone too!

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