AdviceStyle + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle Roundup Vol. IV, No. Eight

Hi Belle,

I love your blog!  Can you please help me find a mint-colored purse for every day use.  My limit is $50, but since it seems like a trendier item, anything cheaper would be ideal.

Thanks! Stacey

There weren’t too many choices in your selected color and price range, but I did find a few.  This little crossbody from ASOS is pretty cute.  I also like this bowler-style satchel from Modcloth.  And if you don’t mind going just a little outside your price range, this scalloped-edge satchel from ASOS is adorable at $55.

Dear Belle,

Like most women, I love when my stylist does my hair but I can’t replicate it at home.  I really want to learn how to round brush my hair like a pro.  Any pointers?  I know you’ve said you blowout your hair every day, so what brush do you use?

Thanks! Q

Whatever your hair-styling question is, I find the best place to search for an answer is YouTube.  There are a few videos which can help you learn how to give yourself a stylist-quality blowout, but they require practice to make it perfect.

This video from Cosmo walks you through the process step-by-step and has the model styling her own hair, so you can see how it’s done.  I think that the keys to getting a good blow-dry are as follows: make sure hair is 75% dry when you start, section your hair for control and buy a good brush.

If you want to learn how to create volume while blow-drying, this video from Melissa Barone teaches you how to achieve a super-model, beachy blow-out starting with dry hair.  The model spends a lot of time working the roots to create volume, so if that’s been an issue for you, this video should help.

As for tools, I think it’s important to use a heat-protecting spray like Frizz-Ease Heat Defeat.  I like the Spornette ceramic brushes.  They come in several sizes, but I use the 2″ brush.  If you prefer a bristle brush, try this one from Chi.

At home blow-outs are just something you have to practice until you get it right.  Once you master the technique it will typically take less than 20-minutes to do it yourself (unless you have a lot of hair).  I have really straight hair, and I can blow-dry my whole head in seven minutes.


I’ve been wearing jeans from Old Navy for years, but it’s time for an upgrade.  The pocket placement on my last two pair made my butt look really wide, and I’m over cheap jeans.  Do you have a favorite brand or brands? 

Appreciate the help, CG

My favorite brand and style of skinny jeans is the Paige Skyline jean.  They’re slimming and the pocket placement is flattering, even on my pear-shaped rear.  I also like that the rise is between a low- and mid-rise, so they give me some coverage without binding.

AG Jeans are probably my favorite brand.  I love the Angel (a bootcut) and the Ballad, which falls between a bootcut and a straight leg.  If it’s a trouser jean you’re after, I like 7 For All Mankind’s Dojo jean.  If you have trouble fitting a really curvy body, I have a few friends who swear by Cookie Johnson jeans.  She also makes plus-size denim, and when I’m buying white jeans, I always try on her styles first because finding figure flattering white denim is tough.

If you like the look of designer denim but can’t stomach the price, I suggest hitting TJ Maxx or another discount retailer.  I would also hit which is where I buy most of my denim these days.

Hi Belle,

I read your review of the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab nail set.  Is it really worth the money?  How long does your manicure really last?  I’m spending a lot of money on gel manis and would love to save a bit.

Thanks, Pricey Polish

If you read a review of a beauty product on CHS, the odds are 99 to 1 that I bought it myself, and the Lippmann set is worth every penny I paid for it.  My non-DL manicures last between three and four days before the chip.  My D-L manicures make it a whole week.  However, you need to be really diligent about making sure that you cover the entire surface of the nail.  If you miss a spot, that is where your chip will appear.

I highly recommend the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab kit if you like to do your manicures at home.  They don’t damage the nail like a salon manicure can, and there’s no UV light.  I find they work best if you use a Lippmann polish, but you can use any brand you have on hand and still get great results.



  1. Jenn says:

    I used to go to a salon in Bethesda called Bella where they would have periodic “Blow Dry Parties” where they taught you how to style your hair at home like they do in the salon. I found that I went to the salon a lot less often when I could style it at home so that it looked freshly done. Also, the salon owner would bring snacks and drinks.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  2. J says:

    I recently found a lot of great Paige and AG jeans at Nordstrom Rack. I bought the AG leggings and 2 pairs of Paige Ankle Peg. They were all $70 each, which is more than 50% off regular price. I’m short so I had to hem the AG leggings but the Paige Ankle Peg are the perfect length for petites because they have a 29″ inseam instead of 34″.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  3. GC says:

    I have the Deborah Lippmann Gel Lab set and it’s great. You definitely get a full week with a perfect manicure and I find it dries really fast too, so you don’t have to baby your nails all day. I was able to get a special set that included the Gel lab with 9 polishes from HSN for only $40. I’m not sure if they still have the set, but its probably worth looking. I’ve already saved a lot of money by alternating between painting my nails at home and going to a salon.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  4. Heather K. says:

    Try an Instyler. I wish I was joking, as I usually find products sold via infomercial to be overhyped, but that thing is amazing for getting the smooth blow-dried look, at least for shoulder-length hair. I probably spend a total of 10 minutes between rough-drying my hair and using the Instyler to get a smooth look that still has body and a little wave.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  5. Lynn says:

    I am definitely going to give the polish a try! Even no-chip top coats don’t work for me.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  6. Jennifer D says:

    Frizzles Salon and Spa (locations in Alexandria and Springfield) hosts in-person blow dry workshops in a group setting. You bring your own tools, and there is a fee. The in-person assistance might be a helpful alterative if videos aren’t working for you.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  7. Addison says:

    For Stacey, this purse from Target comes in mint and is only $34.99. I’ve seen it in person and thought it was super cute!

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  8. Addison says:

    **Correction, this is the one I saw in the store and it’s still only 39.99.

    February 6, 2014/Reply
  9. elz says:

    I was unable to blow out my hair until I did exactly what Belle suggests- I watched and re-watched a ton of youtube videos. The technique I use is to dry at 75%, section off, and use multiple brushes-when I dry a section (usually two or three passes), I roll the hair back up and blast it once more to dry the hair in a curl, leave it wrapped around the brush while I dry the next section and voila! Blow-out hair. It’s awesome.

    I found that Cricket brushes work the best. I have long, thick hair and if I can learn, anyone can!

    February 7, 2014/Reply
  10. Ashley says:

    Checkout Not Your daughters Jeans. They can be pricey, but you can find them cheaper at TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack.

    February 7, 2014/Reply
  11. LB says:

    If you find a particular style that works for your body, ebay is also a great place to pick up designer jeans at big discounts.

    February 9, 2014/Reply