Finding the Right Fit: The Perfect Camera Bag

I first started looking for chic camera bags after the start of my summer internship at event coverage site Guest of a Guest. Since I knew I would be toting my camera around the District to take pictures at events I knew I needed to upgrade from using a cotton scarf to “protect” my camera (as I shoved it in the over-sized purse I chose for the day). I didn’t have a secure camera bag. I needed a functional, secure way to carry my DSLR that was a bit more cushioning than a scarf. Ok, fine. I needed a functional cute, secure way to carry my DSLR that was a bit more cushioning than a scarf versatile enough to change with my outfit.

After doing a bit of research I came across a few companies that specialize in chic camera bags–The IT, ONA, ZKIN, Jo Totes, Epiphanie….to my surprise they do exist. I mulled over a few I thought were cute, namely this ZKIN and this Jo Totes, but I finally found the perfect solution: ONA’s Camera Bag insert. The majority of my purses are over-sized so I knew it would be perfect: I could change my “camera bag” based on my outfit. The insert is even big enough to fit my DSLR with its 18-135mm lens (while still being discreet)!

All in all—I’m a happy camper…er…blogger. Below is the insert in action in one of my oversized purses.

  • 1: Unzipped purse looking into open insert.
  • 2: Unzipped purse looking into closed insert.
  • 3: Zipped purse showing how discreet the insert actually is!

Side note: if you are indeed interested in this ONA camera bag insert, I bought mine here at B&H. It’s free shipping & 9 times outta 10 I receive my orders after 2 days with them :)

Coat Envy

As temperatures continue to drop I’ve noticed my coat arsenal is lacking quite a bit. There are so many great coat trends this Fall, but with very little shopping budget remaining a girl can only dream. And this girl wants to show you her dreamed up outfits to go with them! Below are 5 of my favorite coat categories for this season: Anorak, Menswear-Inspired, the Statement jacket, Over-sized Lapels, and the mighty Leather Moto jacket. I created each outfit set with my own flair to show you how I’d wear them. Leave a comment if you have a suggestion for how you would style them to suit you! Or if you have a question as to why I paired a jacket with what I did, post your comment :)

 

Anorak


Menswear Inspired


Bold / Statement


Over-sized Lapel


Leather Moto


 

 

What’s your coat envy?

 


Buck the Trend: Going Platinum

With “Blonde” being the number 3 hair trend of the Fall season, according to Elle, I thought I should forewarn women of the damage that ensues once you go bleach blonde, from my personal experience. Yes, I used to be bleached blonde. “Platinum” if you will. It was absolutely awesome—blondes DO have more fun—but it wreaked havoc on my strands and would have wreaked havoc on my bank account, too, if I weren’t working in the salon! Below is my Before & After: sleek platinum locks (circa July 2011) to tousled natural waves (circa October 2012)

If you’re an avid Twitter bug, then I’m sure you’ve heard of OscarPRGirl, aka Erika Bearman. She is the Director of Communications for Oscar de la Renta, and is fawned over as she Tweets the goings-on within de la Renta’s design atelier. Last week, Bearman took the plunge and underwent a total transformation going from an espresso brunette to icy pale blonde. Vogue documented her whole experience here.

Undergoing this drastic of a change does much more than just change your outward appearance. Once the bleaching agent is applied, it penetrates the hair shaft in order to alter and strip your strands’ natural color. The chemicals force open your strands’ cuticle scales making your hair more porous, meaning that your hair won’t hold color as well and moisture as well as it did before. If you’ve ever heard a stylist say, “My hair drops color quickly” or “My ends feel like straw” it’s typically because they have bleached their hair at one point or another and they are facing the aftermath.

With platinum locks come a platinum price: the ultimate upkeep. After you’ve undergone the process, you will face maintenance in the most costly ways: moisture treatments, non-color depositing products, non-yellowing products, altering your shampooing habits (decrease to help retain moisture), frequent root touch ups depending on hair growth, salon trips for toner touch ups, etc.

Things to Consider Before Heading to the Salon:

1. Realize that it’s a Commitment

Talk about Maintenance!! Transforming your look to this near-zero pigment is difficult to maintain. Shampoos, hairsprays, gels, and oils can all cause yellowing or brassiness to occur. Be diligent when buying products—look for clear liquids and gels with NO pigment. Expect to make occasional trips to the salon for a toner treatment in-between full dye jobs to keep your look icy—not brassy.

2. It’s a Financial Investment

If your hair grows quickly, be prepared to be shelling out cash to maintain your tresses. As I would get my roots done at my former salon employer, I would ask how much my appointment would cost as a paying customer. I was astounded to learn that women actually pay upwards of $400 to have their strands professionally stripped of all pigment! Granted, I was working at an upscale fashion-forward downtown salon, but know that the upkeep and initial appointment may cost more than you think.

3. It’s Damaging to Your Strands

“Once you bleach [...] you’ve altered the strength of your hair, making it weaker. If you add blow drying and styling on top of bleaching, you can really damage your ‘do, causing hair breakage, a dull look, and split ends” (CBS News). Not to mention the straw-like feel and texture your ends will have after 6 months of upkeep. Did I mention that your hair will be significantly more porous? Sorry to ruin the surprise, but if you don’t like how you look with bleached tresses it will be nothing but an uphill battle to grow it out. Once color is applied over the porous strands, color will “drop” over the course of 5 shampoos or less (this often results in an unintended ombre). Overall: Your Hair Will Change in Texture, Moisture level, and Thickness/fullness.

4. Your Wardrobe May Need Tweaking

Ok, so no woman needs an excuse to go shopping, but undergoing a drastic change in hair color may change how you look at your clothes. When I was platinum I felt I could never wear pastels, white, or any light colors for that matter. I opted for darks, a lot of black, and jewel tones because of the high contrast it provided. While I don’t generally wear pastels because I’m very fair, the white-blonde hair made me almost monochromatic so I never even wanted to wear white.

  • Also note that your skin tone may look different in the mirror as well. My blonde strands enhanced the pinky tones in my skin whenever I blushed or had a sunburn.

 

 

If you do decide to be on trend this season, I’d love to know how you’re liking it! Leave a comment, and I’d be happy to offer some tips and product recommendations :)



Photo via

 

You Should Know About: Coconut Oil

Over the past few months there has been a huge resurgence of coconut oil. Magazines and bloggers alike have been very eager to spread the word about the amazing benefits and uses for this fruity oil. I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about coconut oil’s beauty benefits by now. But if not, then I’m glad you’re reading! This tropical oil has a high Vitamin E content and contains fatty acids which are anti-fungal, anti-oxidizing and anti-bacterial. Now, you may be wondering, “Julia, why are you telling us about a cooking oil?” Because it’s useful for so many other things!! Here is my sum-up of the best ways to use this delicious-smelling oil:

Hair

  • MMMM∞  Hair Mask/Deep Treatment (this post will tell you how to apply it)
  • MMMM∞  Dry Scalp Treatment
  • MMMM∞  Frizz Remedy (think of it as a more natural version of Moroccan Oil)
  • MMMM∞  UV shield, helping to maintain color and prevent fading

Face

  • MMMM∞  Eye Makeup Remover
  • MMMM∞  Lip Moisturizer

Body

  • MMMM∞  Moisturizer
  • MMMM∞  Massage Oil
  • MMMM∞  After-shave Moisturizer
  • MMMM∞  Moisturizing Scrub (just add sugar!)
  • MMMM∞  Breaking in new shoes
  • MMMM∞  Jogger’s Nipple
  • MMMM∞  Natural Sunscreen: SPF 4

Food

  • MMMM∞  Use on cinnamon raisin toast instead of butter
  • MMMM∞  Mix with butter (vegan or dairy) for popcorn topping
  • MMMM∞  Mix with garlic for a sweeter substitute than butter (in sauces & general cooking)

Shopping Tip #3: Do Your Homework

Being a savvy shopper is being a smart shopper. You should never buy a high-ticket item you like without shopping around a little bit. If I have my sights set on a pair of shoes I always check multiple websites and stores to see who has the lowest price (free shipping is a huge plus too!!). I say shoes in particular because I find myself doing this with shoes the most. I find a pair I fall in love with from Bloomingdale’s. Then I pop over to Zappos.com to see what price they have. Then I go to the brand’s actual site. Then I do a Google search. Then I compare all my findings and make my purchase.

It’s all about weighing your options.

This tactic isn’t for everyone; Some of my friends hate me for doing this. Certain women enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining the item in-person in-store once they see it; others enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining the item for the lowest price possible; then there’s me: I enjoy going to the store to try it on, see if I like how the garment suites me, then: ask about sales, shop around in stores, shop around online, compare pricing, make final purchase.

Shop smart, shop confidently :)

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