Thursday, July 10, 2014

DIY Sessions

There are few things worse than wearing clothing made from heavy, or stuffy materials during the summer that are unsuitable to combat sun and humidity. Luckily, kimono style cardigans are on trend this summer and are light, airy, and super comfortable! From the beach to music festivals, these cardigans are perfect for light coverage from scorching rays or when the sun starts to set. While one can find numerous kimono cardigans for a fairly reasonable price at retailers such as Forever 21, you can make your very own cardigan with only a few items at half the price! Kimono cardigans run anywhere from $16 to $30+ at Forever 21 but might not always have ones that fit your height or body shape. As a shorter shopper, the kimonos on sales at stores tend to be too long. By creating your own cardigan, not only can you customize it to fit your needs, but you get to choose the fabric, which is definitely an added bonus. If you love DIYs, kimono cardigans, fashion on a budget, or all of the above, read on to find out how you can create your own trendy summer essential!

Kimono Cardigan DIY

-light fabric 
-measuring tape
-marking pen
-thread (that closely matches the color of the material)
-sewing machine or sewing needle

You can go to the fabric store to find a higher quality fabric, but if you are on a budget, try stopping by Forever 21 first. I purchased an oversized scarf from Forever 21 for under $10 and found it to be just the right amount for the project. There are a bunch of different designs and colors to choose from that are perfect for the summer!


First, lay out your fabric and fold the longer sides together. Then fold the fabric in half again. Make sure that when you are folding, the wrong side is facing outwards and the good side is facing inward!

                          My Measurements                                                                                  Suggested Measurements

I modified the suggested measurements to best fit my needs. You can adjust the measurements to be longer or shorter depending on the style of kimono you are aiming for. When folded however, the scarf measured 20" across the top, so if you want longer sleeves, you may need to head to the fabric store. Or find a longer scarf!

Using your measurements, take a marking pen (I used a sharpie) to create a guide for cutting.

Once you've cut out the shape of your cardigan, it should look something like this when opened up!

Use pins to help hold the cardigan in place and sew the two upside-down "L"s under the armholes together!

It should look something like this when finished! Don't worry about making it look perfect. These cardigans are so flowy and forgiving that imperfections aren't super noticeable!

Once you've sewn the "L"s, take your scissors and cut straight down the middle of the garment until you reach the top! Important note! Only cut the top layer. This will create the opening of the cardigan.

At the top, measure out 5" on both sides and cut down diagonally to the middle to create two triangles. This part is to add some shape to the neck opening.

All that is left to do is sew all the raw edges! Start with the middle by folding down outwards about a quarter inch twice. Then pin down and sew!

Do the same with the bottom hem, arm holes, and around the neck area!

Almost done! Use an iron to flatten all your hems for a more polished product.

That's it! You're done! You have just created your very own kimono cardigan. Enjoy!

Inspired? I was! Check out this video for more detailed instructions!

I'm thinking of posting more DIY projects and creating a little series. Let me know if this is something you might be interested in seeing!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Short Stack

School is out, the sun is shining, and it' s finally time to pull out your favorite summer essentials! While summer dresses may be your go-to, denim free shorts are a great alternative if you want to fancy up your outfit. From printed to lace to skorts, there are so many options that can easily go from day to evening. You can pair them with your favorite tank or even a bodysuit to create a unique look. Or if you are lucky, you might be able to find a matching top and bottom to create the feel of a romper, without the hassle of a one-piece. So the next time the sun is shining, consider a more dressed up version of the denim short for a fresh take on this summer staple!

Short Stuff

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Lace: Alice + Olivia Embroidered Tulle Shorts $570.00 (Net-A-Porter)
Floral: Lily Scallop Hem Shorts $66.00 (Forever New)
Aztec: Candy Aztec Print Woven Shorts $40.00 (Boohoo)
Striped: Cross Striped Empire Waist Shorts $27.00 (Black Five)
Scalloped: Americana Darling Day Away Shorts $45.00 (Modcloth)

The Perfect Match

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Plunge Front Scuba Bodysuit $55.00 (Topshop)
Alice + Olivia Amal Boatneck Boxy Tank $225.00 (Oxygen Boutique)
Slinky Shoulder Pad V-Body $32.00 (Miss Selfridge)

Inspired? Look for these items here:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Party Like a Rockstar

Whenever I have the chance to travel back to Seattle, I always make sure to book an appointment with London, my favorite manicurist at Gene Juarez, to get the Shellac Rockstar manicure. I not only  love the sparkle that the Rockstar manicure provides, but I also appreciate the long lasting component of the Shellac gel. Like jewelry for my fingernails, I am always a little sad when I have to remove them and put on a basic coat of polish when I fly back to San Francisco. I have yet to find a salon in the city that provides the Rockstar option that I desire, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Visiting my local Paper Source, I invested in some Martha Stewart glitter to bring back with me. Equipped with glitter, a concealer brush, and some polish, I went to work and created my very own Rockstar manicure! While it doesn't provide the lasting component of a Shellac, it does provide me with the ability to switch colors more often! If you are looking to add a touch of sparkle to your nails, take a stab at this diy version of the Rockstar manicure at half the price you would pay at a salon! I've listed everything you will need below as well as steps for how to achieve the look! In addition, I have a special giveaway as well that you can find out about at the end of the post! Enjoy!

DIY Rockstar Manicure

What You Will Need:
-Fine glitter (I love the Martha Stewart glitters)
-Flat makeup brush (concealer brushes work great as do fan brushes)
-Nail polish 
-Strong top coat

Martha Stewart Fine Glitter Set $23.00 (Jo-Ann Fabrics)

Sonia Kashuk Concealer Brush $5.99 (Target)

Martha Stewart Fine Glitter in Sterling
Maybelline Color Show in Pedal to the Metal $4.29 (CVS)
Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat $5.99 (Ulta)

How to Achieve the Look

After painting on a thin layer of the base color, paint on one layer of the top coat. Sprinkle on some glitter making sure that the entire nail is covered. Make sure you have a paper towel or tissue underneath to catch the excess glitter. It will make for an easier cleanup at the end.

Using the concealer brush, cleanup any remaining glitter around the edges of the nail. There will be glitter everywhere, so this brush will help to sweep away the loose glitter.

Finish off your manicure with several layers of the top coat. I used about four layers on each hand for a smooth finish.
Once dry, you are ready to go. Enjoy the sparkle!

Special Giveaway

I've had my eye on this Celine luggage tote for a while now! I figured this adorable phone jack charm will keep me satisfied in the meantime. Win your own version of this classic handbag and add some cuteness to your phone!

How to enter:
1. Be a fan of The Retail Therapy Diaries on Facebook (Click here)
2. Share your favorite summer trend on the page wall
3. That's it!

Giveaway ends on June 21, 2014

Inspired? Look for these items here:

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Blossoms

Florals have been popular for several seasons now, and this spring is no different. After a cold and wet winter, florals bring a burst of fun to a cold weather wardrobe. From shorts to dresses and skirts, florals can help to add visual interest to solid pieces and can add a much needed pop of color. I've put together a few outfits to celebrate the arrival of spring, and the best thing is that everything shown is under $50! Embrace the spring season with some blossoms!

Spring Florals

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Top: Daisy Printed Shell Top $35.00 (Dorothy Perkins)
Skirt: Solid Scuba Skater Skirt $12.98 (Body Central)
Shoes: Diba New Kailas Patent Platform Pump $39.95 (DSW)

Untitled #186

Top: Premium Floral Top $49.99 (Mango)
Blazer: Single Button Blazer $33.00 (New Look)
Shorts: High Waisted Satin Shorts $47.00 (Topshop)
Shoes: Fawnia Heels $49.98 (Aldo)
Earrings: Retro Rosie Earrings $9.99 (Modcloth)

Untitled #187

Top: Long Sleeve Wrap Top $27.00 (River Island
Shorts: Floral High Waisted Shorts $49.99 (River Island)
Shoes: Patent Platform Court Shoes $38.00 (New Look)
Belt: Seat Belt Buckle Waist Belt $22.58 (Asos)

Inspired? Look for these items here:

Friday, February 14, 2014


Don't have anyone to share Valentine's Day with? Why not give yourself a little love with a sweet manicure? All you will need to create this romantic look is some heart shaped stickers, a variety of pink and red nail polishes, and a little patience. 

Sinful Colors in Soul Mate $1.99 (Sinful Colors)
Formula X in Atom + Eve $12.50 (Sephora)
O.P.I in The Spy Who Loved Me $13.99 (O.P.I)

Decide which nails you want to decorate with hearts and paint a base coat and allow to dry completely. The adhesive on the sticker can pull off or smudge the polish if it is not set. You can try decorating each nail with hearts, or you can choose just a few as accents.

Once the polish is completely dry, fit and place a heart shaped sticker on top. Make sure that the sticker lays flat so that the polish you lay on top won't be pushed under. If you don't have heart shaped stickers, try cutting heart shapes out of scotch tape.

Carefully peel off the sticker and use a toothpick dipped in polish to clean up or define edges!

Inspired? Look for these items here:

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Ice Cold

It has been over a month since the world was introduced to the magical and icy kingdom of the newest Disney film Frozen, and the movie's success has continued to snowball with the film's recent Golden Globe award for Best Animated Feature Film! From the charming characters to the catchy musical numbers, it is not hard to see why the world has fallen in love with Frozen. If you are anything like me, and the obnoxious number of Frozen fans out there, you have probably had "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" stuck in your head for a solid few weeks now. Inspired by the snow covered landscapes of Arendelle and the cozy Scandinavian patterns worn by Elsa and Anna, I created modern takes on the characters outfits by mixing colors and textures. Is your outfit in need of a "Fixer Upper?" Let these outfits inspire you to add some spark to your winter wardrobe!

Frozen Inspired Outfits

Untitled #181

Top: Black Sweetheart Crop $10.00 (Select Fashion)
Skirt: Yellow Tweed Mini Skirt $146.00 (Avenue 32)
Shoes: Platform Court Shoes $41.00 (H&M)
Bag: PU Frame Clutch Bag $43.00 (Accessorize)
Necklace: Green Stone and Crystal Octagon Pendant Necklace $22.00 (Macy's)
Earrings: Nadri Snowflake Stud Earrings $ (Bloomingdale's)

Untitled #182

Top: Metallic Jacquard Front Shell Top $33.00 (House of Fraser)
Skirt: Fresh Slice Maxi Skirt $25.00 (Nasty Gal)
Shoes: Chinese Laundry Perfect Ten Pump $42.99 (6 PM)
Hair Clip: Pearls and Crystals Hair Comb $19.99 (Target)
Earrings: Gold Border Pearl Stone Stud Earrings $6.56 (New Look)

Dress: Lipsy Sheer Panel Embellished Bodycon Dress $48.00 (House of Fraser)
Shoes: Modern Vice Adele Platform Pumps $52.49 (Macy's)
Bag: Ballroom Clutch Bag $48.50 (Accessorize)
Bracelet: Platinum Plated Snowflake Pendant Bracelet $17.41 (Bridgat)

Untitled #180

Top: Windsmoor Ivory Bead Trim Top $25.00 (John Lewis)
Skirt: Tianna Embellished Mini Skirt $49.95 (Forever New)
Shoes: Michael Antonio Love Me Suede Pumps $49.00 (Zappos)
Bag: Neon Hard Clutch $24.90 (Delia's)

Untitled #183

Top: Black Bustier $25.00 (Warehouse)
Shorts: Charli Scallop Hem Shorts $32.00 (Boohoo)
Shoes: Side Zip Peep Toe Booties $15.00 (Body Central)
Bag: Braided Fringe Hobo Bag $26.90 (Wet Seal)
Necklace: Gold Antler Necklace $30.00 (Etsy)
Tights: Edna Fleece Tights $18.00 (Pieces)

Untitled #184

Dress: Blue 50's Flare Belt Dress $35.00 (Dorothy Perkins)
Jacket: Cropped Boucle Jacket $29.99 (Mango)
Shoes: Worthington Daniela Tall High-Heel Boots $26.99 (JCPenney)
Scarf: Eira Long Wool Scarf $34.00 (Pieces)
Earrings: Betsey Johnson Silver-Tone Crystal Crown Stud Earrings $26.00 (Macy's)

Inspired? Look for these items here:

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crossing the Line

It is the new year and it is time to welcome in  new trends! For a while now the cosmetic world has been all about bold lip products, from lipsticks to lip stains. Though I do not see this lippy trend going out of style anytime soon, why not experiment with something new? Lately, I have become a big fan of bright and sparkly eyeliners. Throughout the holiday season, I relied on my gold eyeliner to help add a festive touch to my outfits. Depending on the color you choose, sparkle eyeliners can either be statement making, or just a nice accent to a bolder lip color. Personally, I have not quite gotten used to darker lip colors, so I decided to incorporate color into my everyday makeup routine in a more subtle way. Great for an evening look, brighter liner colors such as turquoise and hot pink really pop when the sun goes down. Similarly, more subtle color such as navy blue and gold can work for the day when your black eyeliner starts to get a little boring. Are you a fan of bold eyeliners? Or are you more of a bold lip fan?

Untitled #179

Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner $19.00 (Sephora)
Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liner $19.00 (Sephora)
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner $20.00 (Sephora)
NYX Liquid Crystal Liner $4.50 (NYX Cosmetics)

Loreal Paris 24 Hour Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Liner in Black
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Royal
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Radium
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in El Dorado
Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Bobby Dazzle

The Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner has a flexible sponge applicator that makes for easy application. While I love the color of the liner, I think this brand was my least favorite. In order to obtain a rich color, several coats were needed.

In the past, I used the Maybelline Master Precise Liquid Eye Liner for my everyday black liner, but have recently switched to the Loreal Paris 24 Hour Infallible The Super Slim Liquid Liner. The sharp point of this felt tip applicator is so easy to maneuver and can create both slim and thick lines with the tilt of the pen. Not only does this liner last longer, but it does not run after several hours like the Maybelline one. My new favorite!

I am not usually a fan of bristle tip liquid liners because they are harder for me to create precise lines, but surprisingly this applicator was simple to use. The Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner comes in a wide range of sparkly shades that really pop. I like to pair my colored eyeliners on top of my black liner so that I don't lose the dimension that the darker shade provides. The only downside of this product is that it starts to flake after about 9 or 10 hours, which is not really that bad. But when it claims to last 24 hours, I expect it to last longer.

Inspired? Look for these items here: