Tying a Sarong

Cruise-side, poolside or deck-side, a sarong is a perfect accessory for your bathing suit no matter where you hang out. Whether you are covering away the chill or are a little bashful there is no right way or wrong way to tie a sarong but here are five ways to get you started and give your swimsuit a new look.

The Chest Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your chest.This is probably the most common and the easiest way to tie a sarong. And quite frankly it’s my favourite. It just seems to hang right on everyone.

Directions: Grab two adjacent corners on one of the longest sides. Wrap around your back and tie a double knot in front above your cleavage.

Waist Tie, Long and Short Versions

How to tie a plus size sarong around your waist.This one looks like a tank and long skirt. It makes an acceptable touristy outfit if you’ll be in a coastal region and tempted to get your toes wet throughout the day.

Directions: Hold the sarong at your back by the two corners on the longest side. Keep one corner stationary at your right hip while you wrap the sarong around yourself. If the two ends meet tie them together and tuck in the ends or tuck in both ends and slightly roll top into a cuff securing both ends. The short one is basically the same except you fold the sarong in half to create a short skirt. The seam you create while folded goes at your waist.

Cross Over Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your neck.The crossover is not one of my favourites but some people love it and wear it well. It can be worn as a dress with no bathing suit underneath; but frankly, I don’t trust my knot tying to be that brave.

Directions: Cross over two corners in front of you and double knot in back of neck.

Shoulder Tie

How to tie a plus size sarong around your shoulder.The shoulder tie creates a unique look with a sturdy tie that has the added advantage of extra security provided by the crease of your armpit.

Directions: Same cross over as above but instead of tying it around your neck slide it around until it’s under your arm and then tie a double knot over your shoulder.

The sarong used in this article was provided by Feedora Plus Sarongs in Hawaii. Their plus size sarongs are a generous 45 inches X 90 inches.

Originally published 2/16/2007 at Large & Lovely, BellaOnline. Updated September 20, 2014.

Lancome Grandiose Mascara Review

The folks at Influenster and Lancome sent me a tube of Grandiose Mascara for review. Instead of the traditional purple/pink Influesnter box it came in a black box and here was my first impression:

Perhaps the over packaging of the box is part of the grandiose theme.

From the time they sent it until now I’ve had a few trips and decided to take it along with me. The first thing I noticed when I took it out of the package is how pretty the tube is.

The mascara tube.

In fact, I think this is probably the prettiest tube of mascara I have ever had my hands on. It feels good in my hands too.

The rose cap of the Grandiose Mascara.

The weirdness happened when I uncapped the lid and pulled out the “Swan-Neck”wand. I have to admit it took me a few days to get a feel for the bend in the wand so I could apply the mascara properly. Now that I have, I quite like the bent wand. I have noticed I don’t have to contort my face as much to apply the mascara.

The Swan-Neck wand.

The box even comes with fold out instructions on how to apply.

Instructions on how to apply their mascara.

The tasks of this formula are to add length, curve, and volume. The color they sent was Noir Mirifique (01) and it really is a wonderful bright black. I like my brushes a bit short and not too fluffy as I find it easier to apply without making a mess but with this brush I found I couldn’t get the lashes to separate as much as I wanted. I’m not sure why — it could be the bristles are a wee bit too thick.

The brush of Lancome's Grandiose Mascara.

The formula is also very thick. For me, I felt one coat was fine. What you see in the picture below is actually more like 1 1/2 than two coats as two tended to look messy to me whenever I tried it.

My eyes with Grandiose mascara in one and two coats.

As for wear, I have no complaints in that department. The mascara stayed on all day and didn’t flake at all (a common problem I have even with mascaras that insist they don’t).

Overall it was an OK experience but not the exceptional I expected from a $35 tube. I can’t say I loved it enough to get another.

Evil Queen Press On Nails

The folks at Broadway Nails and Influenster were kind enough to send me two packages of press-on nails to try. I actually didn’t like the nail art on one of them and gave them away to a Facebook friend and kept these Disney Villain’s inspired Evil Queen ones to try. I am not new to Broadway’s press-on nails but this is my first solid style. I love the steel grey color (they have lots of other styles to choose from) with a hint of holographic.

One of the first things I like about these press on nails is the length. They are short and very workable. I am wearing them as I am typing right now with no issue whatsoever. The downside is my nails are not very long to begin with and I had to trim them a bit.

The whole process takes five to ten minutes: sorting proper sizes, cleaning off own nails with prep pad, and applying nails. They recommend not washing your hands for 30 minutes but otherwise you are ready to go. No messy glue involved! Here is a 30 second image video so you can see process from start to finish:

From the top and from a normal distance (not looking too closely) they look like regular nails but on closer inspection from the side or underneath it is obvious they are fake nails especially if you haven’t trimmed your nails short enough. There are 24 nails pieces to choose from but I still found it hard to fit my thumb and middle fingers.

I have on Evil Queen from the Disney Villains collection from Broadway Nails.

I find it necessary to give the nails a good press every day just to make sure nothing has come loose — usually after a shower. I also give them a quick blow dry with the dryer so water is not sitting underneath them.

You definitely don’t have to worry about chipped nails or questionable chemicals with this brand of nail coverage and the sticky backing is pretty strong. I can get about five days of problem free wear but I like to change my color more often so some people might be able to get longer. The key is definitely clean nails, and making a point of repressing them at least once a day.

A box of nails cost between $9 to $13 depending on where you purchase them. They are available from shops like Walmart, Target, London Drugs, Loblaws etc.

Topic Links
* Learn more about Influenster

Two Handbags for Me

On Black Friday I bought two handbags online at Naturalizer. I have purchased shoes and handbags from them before and am happy with them. These new bags were a huge deal, 50% off the handbags plus there was an online coupon for an additional 20% off plus it was also free shipping. So basically I got each handbag for about $30 without facing the crowds.

The first bag which I have put all my stuff into for the winter is the Elaine. It is a black textured bag with some nice detailing. I haven’t had a black handbag in some time so I was really looking forward to this one arriving. Here is what the bag looks empty — somewhat sturdy shape.

The bag sits empty for the moment but not for long!

I love the extra long handles for slipping over my shoulder and the braiding on the side is pretty.

The braided accents on the side of handbag.

There is a fringe tassle that can be left in place or used for keys. I usually just leave them in place as is.

The keychain tassle.

There is lots of space inside with two main compartments and a zipped center pocket that is quite large. There is the traditional zipped pocket on the backside and a few smaller pockets on the opposite side for phone etc. The inner fabric was not pretty which was disappointing. A little on the rough side too.

The empty compartments in the handbag.

There is lots of room and it fit all my stuff.

The inside full of my stuff.

And my bag is now all full and ready to go.

The bag full of my stuff.

The second bag was the Shapely in taupe and black. I thought it looked a bit dressier than an average day bag with the color blocking and I liked it was still neutral.

My color block taupe and black handbag from Naturalizer.

In terms of workmanship I am perfectly happy with the outside of both bags. But the inside lining was disappointing especially in the Shapely bag.

The inside of my shapely handbag.

In my opinion the lining should be thick enough that you can’t see the purse parts and so crumbs or whatnot cannot work their way between the lining and material of handbag. If I had paid the $85 price tag for this bag I would have been incredibly disappointed. If costs are at a premium then I can definitely do without things like fringe keychains to get a better lining.

Topic Links
* Get your next handbag from Naturalizer

Lara Bazant Ventures Online

Lara Bazant, a Toronto based jewelry artist, whose focus is both “eco and ethical” has ventured into the world of online merchandising after a three years in the Distillery District (DD). Moving to a online focus only will allow her to spend more time designing beautiful adornments for her customers and being a mom. If you are in Toronto you can still find some of her pieces at the DD showroom but now the rest of us will have access thanks to the handiness of the Internet. Her new site currently offers four pages of options for earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings. Here are a few of my favorite pieces:

My favorite pieces from Lara Bazant's online eco jewelry collection.

From left to right:

  • Brass Wing Earrings, $49
  • Chainmaille Cuff Bracelet, $179
  • Pressed Glass Ring, $29
  • Kazuri Bracelet, $49
  • Cluster Leaf Earrings, $49

Lara Bazant ships throughout Canada and almost anywhere internationally.

Topic Links
* Get your eco friendly jewelry from Lara Bazant

Pop Brights

Shoppers Drug Mart is having a “Nail the Look” contest on their site. They are featuring four different nail looks and have asked people like us to nail the look and send in photos of the results. The judges will then pick a favorite from each look and each of the winners gets $500 in nail products. How could I not enter?

The first look is called Pop Brights. The look was developed by Jenny Stencel and Danielle Black from polishyoupretty.com. Here is their tutorial:

I thought this look would be a good one to start with so I headed out to Shopper’s to see what I could find. Luckily they had all the colors I needed and they were all on sale:

  • Quo by Orly — Femme Fatale
  • Ceramic Glaze — Watermelon Cooler
  • Ceramic Glaze — Exotic Dragon Fruit

Ceramic Glaze and Quo nail polishes

This is my first time using Quo and Ceramic Glaze nail polish. They are both on the higher end price wise and were on sale for $8.99.

Dragon Fruit with Watermelon dots.

I did not enjoy the Quo experience. I actually had to take off the first two coats I put on because they were such a goopy mess. If I used anymore than two brush strokes to get the polish on it got sticky. I fared better with my second attempt but still was not impressed. If they are all like this I probably would not buy anymore.

I did however really like both of the Ceramic Glaze polishes which I found much easier to work with.

Playing with nail art dots and bright colors.

The video used an Essie Millionales base coat but I used a Revlon Multi-care Base/Top Coat (965). And my favorite Julep Freedom Polymer for the top coat.

Pop Brights Nail Art Submission to Nail the Look.

I am very happy with how it turned out! I have a lot of brighter shades in my nail polish box and I love the concept of breaking up the brightness so it is not so overpowering. I am so thankful I watched this tutorial and gave it a try. Fingers crossed the judges think I “nailed the look”!

Topic Links
* Shopper’s Drug Mart Nail the Look — Campaign is over.
* Take a look at my other entry!

True Blue

Bess, I love you.

I know I have been going crazy with nail polish for the last few months and I apologize for this addiction but honestly I cannot help it. Ok, I can but I don’t want to. Especially after wearing this new color from Julep.

Bright blue nail polish by Julep.

About a week ago I put on two coats of this thick creme nail polish with no top coat — it had such a nice sheen on its own I didn’t bother.

A fresh coat of bright blue nail polish.

I probably could have put on a third coat as my nail tips are still visible but I really don’t mind the look. This robin’s egg blue is called Bess — like a good friend. I know I am obsessed with blue tones but this one is so pretty.

Robin egg blue nail polish from Julep.

After a few days I was a wee bit bored with myself and changed the look into a make-shift French manicure by putting slate sparkle polish (Jordan) on the tips. I am pretty sure it was two coats. It just looks black in the photo but trust me, it is glitter.

Silver grey glitter manicure with bright blue polish.

I enjoyed it for a few days and was itching to do something else. The polish was still looking hot so I could not justify taking it off. Soooo… I put on another coat of Bess, yes, right over the sparkles and everything. Then I took out my L.A. Colors white nail art lacquer brush and painted diagonal stripes on the tips (left hand first).

Diagonal white stripes on nail tips.

It turned out way better than I could have imagined.

Bright blue nail polish with two thin white stripes on tips.

This last nail art was super easy and I highly recommend trying it. It was fun to do and looks so sharp.

Topic Links
* Become a Julep Maven or shop at Julep
* My first Maven experience
* My second Maven experience

Building a Foundation

With Lane Bryant

Plus size personality, Marcy Guevara takes us on a visual tour of some of Cacique’s pretty and functional bras as well as offering tips on how to get a proper fit and style for your outfit.

I think I have mentioned before that the Balconette style is my favorite for every day where. And Cacique was the first brand I fell in love with. Most of my pretty bras are Cacique. Here are a few of my faves from their new arrivals:

Different styles of Balconette bras from Lane Bryant's Cacique line.

As of this post Lane Bryant currently has bras, Buy 1 get one 50% off as well as some on for $20. Have fun!

Topic Links
* Visit Lane Bryant for plus size clothing

Turquoise and Red Statement

When it comes to color coordinating, turquoise and red are at the top of my list of favorites. One of the best ways to combine colors if you are not comfortable doing it with your clothing is via jewelry; especially statement necklaces like this one from Sculpted Tree shop on Etsy. As well as the colors, I like the contrast of sizes and shapes.

Red and Turquoise statement necklace from the Sculpted Tree on Etsy.

The jewelry artisan, Eleanor Brett Lewis-Deweese, combined bamboo coral and turquoise colored beads to make this three strand necklace available on her Etsy shop for $135.

Topic Links
* Get your turquoise and red statement necklace from Etsy

Puzzled Nail Art

I follow a lot of nail art bloggers for fun and inspiration. The inspiration part came in when I decided I wanted to kick my three year spurt of picking at my nails and cuticles until they were raw habit. I used looking at the lovely cuticles of others and it worked. My cuticles are looking pretty damn good. I have not ventured much into the world of nail art myself though I have wanted to. The basic wearing a new color on the ring finger (which is fun too) is pretty and the lady bug art I did years ago are the extent of my experience.

Anyway, I have been really admiring puzzle pieces. There are more than a few variations on Youtube. My first attempt involved creating a white outline but it was a really messy process which I did not take pictures. I decided to go with a simpler technique offered by Jocelyn from Polishpedia. She makes it looks so easy.

Let me tell you, it is not! Ok, it is not super hard either but it is not as easy as it looks in the video. Speaking of video, you can watch her instructions:

My Puzzle Pieces Nail Art

I loved the pale color of Cover Girl’s Pink-finity (#140) but after a few days I was itching to put some nail art on it.

Cover Girl Pink-finity nail polish.

My original plan was to coordinate it with Julep’s Alley, which is a bright sparkly blue, but I ended up grabbing the Lena, a creamy teal, instead. The color blocking still look great together but you know what it is like when you have your heart set on something.

In the video the nail artist put the tape on all her nails first. I chose to do one at a time because knowing me the tape from one nail would accidentally touch the wet polish of another. I also reused the tape one more time (that is the recycler in me) as you can see from the third image. I did all the boxes on both hands and allowed them to dry before I went on to make the dots with my dotting tool. I then did all the blue dots first, followed by the pink ones. A top coat is a must to smooth things out. It will still be a little bumpy where the puzzle pieces join and takes a bit longer to dry.

Step by Step images of nail art for puzzle pieces.

Ok, it is not hideous by any means. There were many spots I would have done over because they smudged or the circle was more of an oval. I do think it is a good first attempt (this style). I especially like how the thumb one turned out.

Two color nail art puzzle pieces.

A few things I have learned from this experience:

  • Patience is required for nail art.
  • Make sure there is enough light.
  • Start with weak hand first (I already knew that but ignored it anyway).
  • Don’t rush — make sure you don’t have to be somewhere in an hour.
  • Don’t load up the brush with polish.
  • Practice may not be perfect but it does make it better.
  • Have different sized dotting tools on hand. My tool was too small.

Overall, I did enjoy doing this and want to do it again with different colors. I would recommend giving it a try if you have the time and are feeling creative. It is fun watching it come together.

Topic Links
* Subscribe to Polishpedia for more nail art ideas
* Check out my lady bug nail art tutorial

Being a Julep Maven: Take Two

In March I mentioned I became a Boho Glam Julep Maven. I am following up with news about my second box. The April Brights box contained two Julep colors, Kaylen (neon orange crème) and Lena (teal with gold shimmer), a tube of Julep’s Mighty Nail and Cuticle Serum, and some blue rock candy on a stick (FYI: if you are going to send candy, make it chocolate).

To back things up a bit. Even though last month was my first box, this month was my first pre-notification that my maven box would soon be on its way. On the March 20th I approved my Maven April Brights box and ordered a few discounted add-ons: the Electric blueberry frost polish and the Freedom Polymer Top Coat both for $4.99. I was told I would have until the 24th to change my mind or my selections. On the 29th I received two separate emails, the first telling me my April Maven box was on its way, and the second telling me my add-ons were on their way (they are always shipped separately from Maven boxes).

I was very excited when my Julep Maven box arrived and tweeted/insta it immediately on opening.

April Brights from Julep's April Maven box.

Here is a closer look at the colors. Lena turned out to be greener than I thought it was going to, it looked more turquoise on the site.

Here are the Lena and Kaylen nail polishes from Julep's April Brights Maven box.

I had a plan in my head for my nails before the polished arrived. I wanted to paint my nails all blue except for the ring fingers which would be orange — a popular and simple nail trend at the moment. When I opened up my polishes and started painting I was so excited and before I knew it all my nails were painted teal. I remembered another simple nail art video I had seen where a simple brush stroke of another color is painted down the middle. When the teal dried I did just that. Unfortunately, the orange polish is a bit transparent and turned out to be brown on the nail. I posted it to Instagram and friends said they liked it — one said it reminded her of peacock eyes (this image is from iPod).

Nail art with the April brights polish.

But I still felt I needed to “fix” it. I put a white strip down the middle, added another coat of orange, then a few teal dots. Way more busy than I originally intended for the April Brights and to my eye, kind of muddy.

Orange and teal nail art with Julep polish.

I wore it for a couple days until I finally got what I wanted. I have been tickled orange ever since.

Orange and teal manicure with Julep nail polish.

There is one coat of the teal and two coats of the orange. I probably could have done three. I am happy with the colors this month.

Topic Links
* Become a Julep Maven

L’oreal Telescopic Mascara

A mascara I love at the moment for long lashes is L’Oreal’s Telescopic Shocking Extensions. It really is like “liquid extensions” in a tube especially for me as I do not consider my eyelashes very long or very lush. I have been using it for a few weeks and love the length. And so far no clumping or flaking which is a bonus. I have especially sensitive eyes since I had eye surgery five years ago and have experienced no irritation with this mascara — no flaky either — which is often the route of my eye irritation.

Before and after photos of L'oreal Telescopic Mascara.

As you can see from the before and after pictures this mascara gave me considerable length and thickness. I actually like the short bristles and found I was able to get more coverage than a long bristle fluffy wand which never really get’s between my lashes. I was actually able to comb my lashes with this wand. In case you are wondering about the colour I chose black/brown as I find straight black too harsh with my blue eyes.

You can pick up this mascara at your local Shopper’s Drug Mart or any department store with a good cosmetics section.

Topic Links
* You can purchase different kinds of L’oreal mascara from Amazon.ca

Matt and Nat Handbags

Matt and Nat is a Canadian designer handbag company out of Montreal. They are a “vegan brand therefore there are no animal products used in production”. Every season they showcase a new platform of designs for women and men. Sometimes they are bright and eclectic and sometimes they are earthy and subdued. I have watched this company for a few years and some seasons are hit and miss for me — either I love what they done from top to bottom or I only really like one piece. If you have not heard of them I recommend keeping them on your radar if you are shopping for a new handbag. Here are a few of my current favorites:

Bright vegan handbags by Matt and Nat.

From left to right:

  • Jorja Ocean Vegan (more colors), $148
  • Cloud Vegan Goldfrapp (more colors), $135
  • Cognac Vegan Malone (more colors), $130
  • Fern Vegan Adrian (more colors), $135
  • Ocean Vegan Moxy (more colors), $95

My absolute favorite is the Jorja in Ocean. As far as designer handbags go, they are reasonably affordable.

Topic Links
* Get your next vegan handbag from Matt and Nat