3 Easy-To-Master Braids

Summer is the perfect time to get hair off your neck–and braids are a classic, easy way to match both dressy and casual looks. While braids may seem intricate and complicated, most are fairly simple to master with good instructions and some practice. Check out this list of trendy braids that look great, but don’t require a professional stylist to achieve.

1. Four-stranded braid. Using a similar weaving technique as a classic braid, the four-stranded braid is surprisingly easy to create and provides a chunky, interesting look. Get the YouTube tutorial here.

Four-stranded braid. Via: www.bobbyglam.com

Four-stranded braid. Via: http://www.bobbyglam.com

2. Fishtail braid. This style looks extremely intricate and although somewhat more challenging than a classic braid, it shouldn’t take more than a little practice to master. Just remember to keep strands taught and as neat as possible (unless you’re going for a messier look). View the tutorial here.

Fishtail braid. Via: www.abeautifulmess.com

Fishtail braid. Via: http://www.abeautifulmess.com

3. Waterfall braid. While this braid is the most difficult (you’ll want to learn to french braid first), it is far simpler than it looks. It’s impressive-looking and works well for special occasions and everyday looks alike. Don’t get frustrated–it’s all about practice! Check out the tutorial here.

Waterfall braid. Via: www.luuux.com

Waterfall braid. Via: http://www.luuux.com

What’s your favorite braid? Have you tried any of these?

Update Your Wardrobe With Handmade Hair Accessories

For most people, the months after Christmas are spent patching financial holes created by present-buying, trip-taking and all those other unforeseen, expensive necessities that invariably seem to present themselves around the holiday season. This also happens to be the time of the year when I start longing for the first signs of spring and begin to tire of my winter “uniform” (jeans, boots, sweater and a scarf, literally everyday).

Although it’s not exactly balmy here in Denver yet, we’ve been lucky enough to have several over-60 degree days in the past couple of weeks, and stores have started to rid themselves of thick leggings and jackets in anticipation of brighter, lighter, more cheerful inventory. As much as I’d like to start investing in cute new spring styles, I simply can’t justify it (at least yet). Instead, to revive outfits I’d rather stick in storage and not revisit for the next 8 months, I’ve turned to accessories: headbands, jewelry and nail polish.

Inexpensive and widely available, accessories will easily transition into warmer seasons and will help to resuscitate dull winter clothes in the meantime. In particular, hair accessories are a great way to dress up old clothes and add interest around the face, instantly brightening up an outfit for a special occasion or night out. While hair accessories can be found anywhere from Target to TJ Maxx, I’ve found that some especially unique and beautiful pieces are available in abundance on Etsy.

Which are your favorites?

1. Dreams By The Sea: Gorgeous, delicate headbands, barrettes and more. Although primarily made as weddings accessories, several of the nature-themed accessories are low-key enough to work for year-round beautiful hairstyles.

"Daphne" Leaf Bobby Pins are available for $38.00.

“Daphne” Leaf Bobby Pins are available for $38.00.

2. Where The Moon Goes: Offering hand-beaded bracelets, necklaces, belts and headbands, this shop is full of gorgeous, colorful accessories that are sure to attract compliments with any outfit.

"Sonus Lilium" Beaded Headband available for $45.00.

“Sonus Lilium” Beaded Headband is available for $45.00.

3. Academy J: With a vintage vibe, these headbands and clips are perfect to dress up or dress down and come in a variety of styles and colors. Affordably priced, these accessories are great statement pieces to pair with a range of everyday or special occasion outfits.

"Sonny" Beaded Headband is available for $24.00.

“Sonny” Beaded Headband is available for $24.00.

Holiday Survival Guide–As Told By Infographics, Charts & More

holidaystress

‘Tis the season–for finding the perfect gifts within budget, for surviving family get togethers and work parties, and for creating the perfect holiday outfit that exudes the festive season without being too red-and-green literal. In all senses (money-wise, socially-wise and time-wise), the month of December may seem like a stressful, dread-filled whirlwind. Add to that air travel (if you’re going somewhere) or pickup trips to the airport (if you’re not), and it’s easy to forget how fun, relaxing and rewarding the holiday season is supposed to be.

Here, we’ve compiled some of the most useful, appropriate and (hopefully) interesting infographics, charts and lists from all over the web to help you simplify, conquer and ultimately enjoy your holidays.

  • For travel. From shipping your bags to getting the first flight out of the day, click here for must-know tips for holiday air travel.
  • For family gatherings. Have differences of opinion with your family members that rise to a boil every holiday season? Arm yourself with these tools for diffusing conflict and learn to agree to disagree this year!
  • For work parties. Not sure what’s appropriate for your particular occasion? Check out these guidelines and view a slideshow of suggested outfits. Added bonus: Impress your coworkers with your superior wine knowledge by taking a look at this handy infographic, which explains types of wines by style and taste.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Strong Styles With Romantic Touches Reign for Fall

Temperatures are slowly dropping, the humidity has been replaced by a slightly crisper breeze, and up in New York, Fashion Week has begun to reveal some of the styles that we’ll be seeing for the upcoming season.

I’ve checked out the runway photos, compiled some of the new beauty trends that most excite me, and put an all-natural spin on these fashions:

  • Lips: Look for vampy, romantic shades of burgundy, purple and deep red. Dramatic lips paired with more neutral eye colors will be making a major appearance this fall. Try Honeybee Gardens Natural Lipstick in Vintage Merlot for a paraben-free take on this trend, complete with all-natural moisturizing ingredients such as coconut oil and shea butter.
  • Hair: Perfectly coiffed, intricately styled hair is making way for lower effort, simpler styles this fall. Think low, sleek ponytails, hair that looks as if it’s been air dried, romantic styles involving loose braids and twists and more casual versions of 1960’s bouffants. Check out Harper’s Bazaar’s slideshow for inspiration, and for an all-natural way to keep hair smooth and styled in a braid or updo, try Kiss My Face’s Natural Styling Gel.
  • Nails: Tired of neons? For those who favor the classics, you’ll be happy to learn that rich, elegant jewel-tone shades will make a comeback in the upcoming months. Shades like wine and eggplant, along with neutral grays and metallic coppers will make for less trendy, more tasteful nails for the fall season. I’m loving Zoya Nail Polish’s formaldehyde-free polish in Toni, which they describe as a “dark, warm raisin-wine cream.” Yum.
  • Accessories: Headbands, which have gained popularity in the last couple years, are still popular going into fall. Look for beaded and sequined designs with a vintage flair to lend interest to an updo or to loose, wavy hair. Check out these handmade fall favorites from Bethany Lorelle’s shop on Etsy.

What are your favorite fall trends? Who’s ready for cooler weather, boots & tights?

Easy Heat-Free, Damage-Free Hairstyles

Michelle Phan’s “bag curls” create beautiful, damage-free results.

If you’re anything like me, simply reading about how to execute a hairstyle might result in a wasted 15 minute session in front of the mirror followed by a frustrated admission of defeat (read: throwing hair up into a quick ponytail in order to avoid being late for work).

I’m not naturally hair savvy, which is why YouTube hair tutorials have transformed the way I and everyone else without inbred superhuman braiding abilities are able to learn how to curl, twist and smooth hair to perfection.

Some of the most innovative videos I’ve seen lately are the ones involving beautiful styles without the use of damaging heat styling tools, such as blow dryers, curlers or straighteners. Not only do these styles keep hair in its naturally shiny, bouncy, healthy state, but they also require little effort, and in the case of creating curls, may last for several days. Some of my favorite videos include:

What heat-free styles have you picked up from YouTube? Let us know!