Belting, cinching, cutouts, and more… Valentino’s Fall 2014 RTW Show features a defined waist and serious attitude!

Fall is just around the corner and the Fall RTW shows were a mixed bag of styles, tones, and attitudes. One of my favorites is always the Valentino show — and this season was no exception!

The pieces that walked the runway were elegant, fluid, and sensuous, but ultimately very wearable. And, one of my favorite trends from Valentino was the defined waist. From cinching, to belting, to cut outs, to a wonderful ballet toe shoe-inspired lace-up effect, a defined (and tiny!) natural waist was one the predominant features highlighted throughout the show.

Below are some of my favorite pieces.  Now, I’m headed downstairs to the gym for a serious round of crunches and ab work…

Valentino, Fall RTW black and white wrap

 

Valentino, Fall RTW red wrap gown

 

Valentino, Fall RTW LBD with cut outs

 

Valentino, Fall RTW, white goddess cocktail dress

 

Valentino, Fall RTW beige 1-shoulder gown

 

Valentino, Fall RTW 2 piece wrap

 

Valentino, Fall RTW white short 2 piece

 

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

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It’s not really magic… it’s Marika®! My favorite activewear plus a 30% off coupon for you!

Marika Magic Slimming CaprisThe words flattering and activewear are not often found in the same sentence. After all, activewear is meant to be worn in the pursuit of fitness, not fashion.

But, Marika® changes all of that with their line of slimming workout wear that is versatile, functional, and attractive!

I particularly love the new Marika® Magic Slimming Capri Leggings for this time of year. More practical than either bike shorts or full length leggings, the capris are a cotton and spandex blend, providing support and control of bumps and bulges, without ever sacrificing comfort.

These capris are so incredibly comfortable, it’s hard to believe that they contain a power mesh lining along the thigh area, resulting in a more slender look and a sleeker silhouette! The clever designers at Marika have also created a flattering contour with seaming and a sculpting, plus a comfy 4 inch flat waistband, and a Coolmax gusset. Every tiny detail is in place to create the perfect fit and a slimmer look.

In the past, I would never have considered wearing activewear outside of the house. But these capris are so flattering, I don’t mind stopping at Starbucks or the post office before I go for a walk.  They truly can carry you through a full day’s worth of activities… with style!

The Marika Magic Slimming Capri Leggings are available in perennially popular black, in sizes S-M-L-XL. Retail $55.00

Of course, before we know it, it will be fall and time to put capris away. So, as the weather begins to cool, you may want to try other items from the Marika® Magic collection, including longer pants in either a straight leg or boot leg.

Plus, Marika carries a full line of fabulous workout gear for every season and every fitness routine including tops, bottoms, sports bras, tanks, camis, and jackets – even dresses, skirts and cover ups.

Marika products are sold at fine department stores and sporting goods stores, as well as specialty retailers. Or, shop on-line at Marika.com.  And, right now, savvy shoppers can save an incredible 30% off their entire purchase at Marika.com using the coupon code: MM30. This coupon is valid through August 31, 2014.

So maybe I was wrong… Marika really is magic!

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free from the manufacturer. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

PHOTO: Used with permission by Marika® Magic.

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Just for him… refreshing, manly scents from Dr. Squatch Soap Company!

Black Pine Tar Soap by Dr. SquatchThere’s something a little incongruous about my guy heading off to work smelling like flowers. You see, I am a bit of a soap addict – lavender, rose, and freesia scented soaps litter the shower. But, when he uses them, for me it’s just a little… weird.

Recently, I found the perfect solution – fabulous, long-lasting soap scented just for him from Dr. Squatch Soap Company! This is simple, natural soap available in a wide variety of scents that are definitely all-guy.

A few favorites include Dr. Squatch’s Black Pine Tar Soap, which contains real pine oil for a woodsy, fresh scent. This bar also includes oatmeal, for natural exfoliating, so it’s doubly invigorating. Retail $6.00

The Gold Moss Scrub, which contains oak moss, freshly ground cocoa, and sea salt was another top choice. This is a truly unique scent and very earthy, but with a touch of sweetness, too.  Retail 6.00

Bay Rum Soap was another hit in our house. Rum, pine, and orange provide tang, plus there’s the barest touch of sweetness from crushed cloves and cinnamon sticks. The addition of coconut calls to mind images of sun-drenched tropical islands – just perfect for summer! Retail $6.00

Spearmint Basil Scrub Soap by Dr. SquatchBut, of all the bars he tried, the Spearmint Basil Scrub was his clear winner (and mine, too!). A cool spearmint and basil mixed scent with a mild peppermint had such a clean, heady fragrance — simply intoxicating! Retail $6.00

Other great scents available include:

  • Eucalyptus Greek Yogurt
  • Deep Sea Goat’s Milk
  • Cool Fresh Aloe
  • Cedar Citrus

If you want to try them all (and you will) Dr. Squatch even offers a wonderful new subscription box service! Simply choose one, two, or three bars per month. The soaps are delivered quarterly to save you shipping costs. And, you can customize your shipment with your favorites, or take it easy and let Dr. Squatch pick. Plus, you save up to 30% off retail. A wonderful gift idea!

To see the entire line of soaps, gifts, and bath accessories, visit Dr. Squatch Soap Company.

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

PHOTO: Used with permission by Dr. Squatch Soap Company.

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Not bikini-ready quite yet? The Ozeri Body Tape Measure and Body Fat Test Caliper Combo Pack keeps you on track!

Ozeri Body Tape Measure and Body Fat Test Caliper Combo Pack, $9.95Do you remember Oprah and the little red wagon? In November 1988, the daytime television host wheeled out a little red wagon on-air filled to overflowing with 67 pounds of fat— equal to her weight loss – instantly creating an iconic moment in TV history.

While I am not planning on a little red wagon moment anytime soon, I have been making a concentrated effort this summer to shed a few pounds, work out more regularly, and in general, become healthier.

One way I’ve found to make tracking my progress much easier is my new Ozeri Body Tape Measure and Body Fat Test Caliper Combo Pack. Not for the faint of heart (at least at first!), this combo pack includes a Body Tape Measure for waist, thigh, arm, and other measurements, as well as a Body Fat Test Caliper to confirm weight loss progress.

My initial measurements were just the wakeup call I needed (and I’m not planning on sharing them anytime soon!). But, at least the Body Tape made it easy. The tape measures up to 78 inches (200 cm), and features push-button locking and retraction for easy and accurate measuring.

The Body Fat Test Caliper was also an eye opener. The caliper employs a simple method of determining body fat – without any complex electrical or battery-powered devices. I suggest that you take several measurements until you are consistent with the caliper. Then use the body fat chart which categorizes and helps you understand your body fat levels based on height, sex, and measurements.

As part of an ongoing fitness regimen, this combo pack really can’t be beat! All measurements can be taken in the privacy of your own home. And, the tools don’t even require the help of another person. Plus, Ozeri offers a 100% Hassle-Free Satisfaction Guarantee. Retail $9.95

If you’re trying to get bikini-ready this summer, the Ozeri Body Tape Measure and Body Fat Test Caliper Combo Pack is a must-have. And really, what do you have to lose… except the fat?!

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

DISCLAIMER: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

PHOTO: Used with permission by Ozeri.

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Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts provide a luxury spa experience… at home!

Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts, $19If you’ve ever visited a luxury spa, you’ve likely noticed a salt scrub on the menu of treatment options. But, what is a salt scrub, really? And, why get one?

A salt scrub, I’ve discovered, is a stimulating and revitalizing way to exfoliate and soften your skin. Highly recommended before self-tanning or using an epilator, a salt scrub is a simple, safe, and effective way to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells, revealing new skin that is beautifully soft, smooth, and glowing!

Recently, I was introduced to a salt scrub with an important difference — Dead Sea Minerals. Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts by Adovia Mineral Skin Care offer the traditional advantages of a salt scrub, plus the added therapeutic benefit of minerals harvested from the famed Dead Sea.

Using the salt scrub is easy. Simply apply salt to a clean wet face and massage gently. Rinse off with warm water. Follow with a moisturizer like Adovia Moisturizing Cream or Nourishing Night Cream.

Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts are 100% pure Dead Sea salts which are finely ground to be gentle enough for use on the delicate skin of the face. They were initially created for use on oily or acne-prone skin to remove pore clogging dead skin, blackheads, and excess oil. If you have dry to normal skin, however, simply mix with your moisturizing facial cleanser for a mild scrub that will leave your skin hydrated and radiant.

But, the best part about these Adovia Exfoliating Facial Salts is that they can be used to create delightfully smooth skin on any part of the body!

The tub is 12.3 oz., which is enormous, so you never have to skimp. Buff dry feet for sandal-ready tootsies or use to erase those tiny bumps that unfailingly seem to appear on the upper arms. Retail $19.00 

For other amazing Adovia Dead Sea products like Dead Sea Mud Shampoo and Dead Sea Salt Conditioner Duo Set and Facial Mud Mask with Dead Sea Mud, plus so much more, visit Cleopatra’s Choice.

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Stress isn’t pretty! Soothe it away naturally with Lavender Essential Oil from Elite Gold Solutions

Lavender Essential Oil from Elite GoldWe all have stressors in our lives – from ever-increasing bills, to unrealistic work deadlines, to our children’s schoolyard dramas.  And, stress tends to show on our faces. Not just in a tense expression (and resultant wrinkles) but in the actual appearance of our skin!

According to WebMD, “…the mind and the skin are intimately intertwined. You name it: acne, eczema, hives, rosacea, psoriasis, alopecia (hair loss), vitiligo (depigmented white spots on the skin)… many skin disorders take their roots from or place their roots in the psyche.”

Since you can’t shirk financial obligations, work duties, or family responsibilities, how can you manage stress so that you’re able to maintain a beautiful, smooth complexion?

One natural solution is Lavender Essential Oil from Elite Gold Solutions.

I have long been a fan of lavender. A few years ago, my mother went back to France — but on her most recent trip, she didn’t just simply visit Paris or sightsee at Versailles. Instead, she spent a great deal of time in the famed lavender fields and farms of Provence. Naturally, she returned with suitcases bulging with lavender products like perfumes, soap, and essential oils. Since then, I have been a true believer in the therapeutic benefits of lavender!

Of course, you don’t have to travel all the way to France to experience the therapeutic benefits of lavender! Lavender Essential Oil from Elite Gold Solutions is premium, therapeutic grade, 100% natural, pure, undiluted, chemical-free and Made in the USA.  This is not an overly floral or processed scent – just open the bottle and it’s as if you’d stepped into the gentle rolling hills of Provence!

So, how do you actually harness the power of lavender?

A few drops of essential oil on a light bulb scents a whole room and induces tranquil sleep (so necessary when stress levels threaten to derail you from a good night’s rest).

Or, turn an ordinary bath into a steamy, tranquil haven with the addition of just a touch of lavender essential oils into bath water.

You can even dab a few drops on temples to banish tension headaches!

Best of all, Elite Gold Solutions offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee or your money back. Amazon Retail $17.97

So, banish the blues and turn to lavender instead – your skin will thank you!

While you’re here, don’t forget to enter our CURRENT GIVEAWAY:

Cappelli Straworld Pack-a-Hat and Wristlet in cheery red and blue. Ends 7-10-2014

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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For gorgeous (and easy!) nail art that’s perfect every time, try new Jamberry Nails

Jamberry Nails, Silver Floral on MagentaAccording to a recent Harper’s BAZAAR trend report, nail art is still red-hot this season. Runway shows showcasing spring and summer looks for 2014 included a plethora of polka dots, embellished white, ombre, stripes, windowpane grids, floral, and more.

Personally, I love to paint my nails. And, I can even do some basic nail art (although usually only on my left hand, if I am being honest). But the more complex designs (and that includes tricky stripes!) were beyond me until I discovered Jamberry Nails.

Jamberry Nails are a self-adhesive nail wrap manicure, which is exactly what it sounds like. Nail wraps attach directly to the unpolished nail and – voila! – absolutely perfect nail art every time.

The wraps are really simple to use. Just remove polish and then use an alcohol wipe (especially important if you use hand lotion). Match your nail to the sizes on sheet (there are multiple sizes to ensure a perfect match) and then peel off one sheet. Warm with a blow dryer for a few seconds until it’s soft and apply.

With self adhesive nail art, preparation is everything. So, follow directions carefully.

Also, it’s important to push down the edges and smooth out the entire wrap until it’s perfect before you trim away the excess.

The final step is to apply the blow dryer directly to your finished nail to set the adhesive.

You have stunning nail art in just minutes!

The wraps last about 2 weeks on hands (depending on how hard you are on them). And, Jamberry Nails can last up to 4 weeks on toes. With sandal season in full swing, these designs are oh-so-fun!

Removing them is easy, too. Simply soak in polish remover for about 30 seconds to break the adhesive bond and peel off and you’re ready for your next look!

Jamberry Nails has been gaining quite a bit of attention from taste-makers like the editors at InStyle, Health, Self, and People StyleWatch – and for good reason. There are so many styles and colors from which to choose, each unique and beautiful.

Aloha Flower, Jamberry NailsMy top pick is the Silver Floral on Magenta, pictured. The look is feminine and garden inspired — just right for summer! And, this is one piece of complex nail art I could never successfully achieve.  Retail: $15.00

I also adore the festive Aloha Garden Party, shown, for fun-filled summer days at the pool, beach, or sightseeing in a tropical locale. Retail: $15.00

No matter what your personal style is, Jamberry Nails has a look that’s right for you (and likely four or five). From classic solids, subtle neutrals, and elegant French styles, to wild florals, animal prints, bright stripes, and trendy sparkle, the selection is amazing.

You can choose styles à la carte. One manicure/pedicure is just $15. Or, sign up for the Jamberry Style Box. This is a subscription box service that includes:

  • Exclusive Jamberry products that complement your signature style delivered to your door each month.
  • Only $25 + FREE SHIPPING (Minimum 3 month subscription, billed up front)
  • Minimum $30 of Jamberry Nail products
  • Nail File
  • Orange Stick
  • Monthly Style Guide

To see the entire line of gorgeous nail art, visit Jamberry Nails.

While you’re here, don’t forget to enter our CURRENT GIVEAWAY:

Cappelli Straworld Pack-a-Hat and Wristlet in cheery red and blue. Ends 7-10-2014

Your guide to a life filled with STYLE!   Susan Conforte McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur, Harper’s BAZAAR Style Ambassador, and the co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait! In addition to Susan Said… WHAT?! Susan also writes for It’s how you play the game! the corporate website of the award-winning You’ve been Sentenced! word game.

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