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Celebrate your Beyoncependence this 4th of July.

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sammy,

im a size 18 and i need a good casual date night outfit. i want to look thinner and trendy but not like im wearing a tent. whatll show off my curves and make my date go crazy?

meli
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Hi Meli,

I hope that you (and all the rest of you patriotic Let's Talk Stylers) had a wonderful 4th of July. I am cranky this morning due to general lack of sleep on account of the Future Arsonist Adolescents of America who were shooting off fireworks in my neighborhood until 2+am. I used to love that Katy Perry Fireworks song. No longer.

Thanks for your question Meli, which I imagine is short for Melissa. Helping you on your quest for a go-to date night outfit is exactly what I need to get me out of my sleepless funk. The first thing I need to know is, what kind of date are you going on? For instance, a tunic, stretch jeans and Converse would be a perfect go-to casual look for a midday miniature golf game or movie date, but not so great for a black tie affair at the Country Club.

I'm guessing your dates will fall somewhere in between, i.e. dinner/drinks. For the traditional Dinner/Drinks date you want to look sexy, but not too sexy. Casual, but not too casual... Which leads me to your perfect big night out outfit - Dark wash jeans and a hot top.

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I know, I know. This mainstream combination isn't as easy to secure when it comes to bigger sizes, but I have three little words that will change your plus size shopping life. Fashion To Figure.

FTF brings fuller figured fashionistas the newest styles that they crave, in the sizes they need. You'll find trendy tops, dresses, jackets and jeans available in sizes 12 to 26 with designs that are both super chic, and super affordable, with most pieces ranging between $20 to $30. Just check out FTF's classsic tank and jeans combo pictured above with the Basic Stretch Camisole paired with their sleek and slimming Dark Indigo Skinny Jeans for a cool and collected nighttime look that is big on style, low on price (cami = $9, jeans = $36).

Trust me Meli, this look is simple, yet sexy, and it works for anyone. Wear it with your favorite wedges for height, Gold Beaded Hoop Earrings for a little razzle dazzle, and if you feel a little bare up there, add a cute denim jacket, shrug or blazer for some extra coverage.

I guarantee that your date will go crazy, in a good way... not because you ordered the $90 Surf and Turf Special.

xoxo,
sammy


Having a fashion dilemma or crisis?

Need to know what top goes with what bottom?

Don't go it alone. Ask Sammy!


and so it begins...

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Because I am a style blogger, (who has recently, begrudgingly aged another painful year) I am always on the lookout for the newest breakthrough beauty product that will ease the signs of the external aging process. From quercetin to oxygen masks, acai to argan oil, I've seen and tried it all, and am proud to report that there is a new beauty berry on the block. The Sea Buckthorn Berry.

At Sibu Beauty, the beauty is all in the berry. This innovative natural skin care company offers a miracle curing collection of products that all contain the powerful and nutrient-rich sea buckthorn berry - a powerful holy fruit harvested exclusively from the Himalayas.

From soaps, serums and soft gel supplements to light lotions and age defying eye creams, Sibu's arsenal of beauty products are all bursting with sea buckthorn berrylicious properties. Treat your pores to paraben-free, cruelty-free, preservative-free complexion clearing formulas that are guaranteed to promote improved skin tone, texture and overall healthy aging.

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After seeing Sibu's pretty full page ad in my digital issue of Elle magazine, I had to see what the buzz about this berry was all about. The first Buckthorn product on my list to try was their Repair & Protect formula - a nourishing daytime facial cream with Omega 7 fatty acids that help to create a healthy and natural moisture barrier, boost collagen production and rejuvenate sun damaged skin. After taking in a lovely whiff of citrus, I smoothed on the light and non-greasy emulsion and my skin immediately felt calmer, happier and protected.

This natural dream cream also promises to protect against environmental stresses on the skin, so I'm sharing it with my boyfriend who suffers from allergen-aggravated eczema. He was totally cool about trying it because a) he trusts me and b) anything with an ingredient called Buckthorn sounds manly. Plus Dr. Oz digs these berries, and he's a dude.

So, in Sibu summation, I highly encourage you to embrace the Sibu Skincare Systems that will revitalize, renew and replenish all skin types and skin tones while giving you healthy and beautiful hair, skin and nails. Did I mention that these berries also promote weight loss?

If only life was like a bowl full of Sea Buckthorn Berries. We'd all look hotter.

Model Pullover

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No officer, I don't have my license and registration... but I do have my measurements and a GED.

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Quickie summer beauty tip, 10 words or less.

Bronzers make skin tanner, teeth whiter, legs longer, and Jersey Shore guys look stupid, minus cancer.

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NARS Body Glow - $59
A Tan for All Seasons by Bliss Beauty - $36
Jergen's Natural Glow - $8.79

Things To Do before Thursday:

10. Build up my sweat tolerance.

9. Build up my mojito tolerance.

8. Polish the most expensive pair of sunglasses I own.

7. Grow at least 5 inches, preferably 8.

6. Bronze, tweeze, pumice, repeat.

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5. Experiment to see if I can pull off a turban.

4. Pefect my cha ca.

3. Email LeBron to find out which after parties he's going to.

2. 100,000 squats.

1. Brush up on my doggie paddling skills in case I fail to ace #9 and accidentally fall into the pool.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim kicks off today and I'm busier than a honeybee, rsvp'ing, mani/pedi'ing and primp'ing in preparation for the festivities. Yeah, I'm stressed, but having the home court advantage makes it so much easier than fighting my way through the crowds to see the MBFW Fall and Spring collections in New York.

The gossip around town is that Laguna Beach's quintessential beach girl, Kristin Cavallari, is slated to make a splash for the first time at MB Fashion Week this season. Apparently the newly engaged Hills alumni will strut down the catwalk at the Cabaña Grande tonight for the Diesel Swimwear Show in get this -- an eye-catching never-before seen "Skyy glass bikini" inspired by the vodka’s iconic signature cobalt blue bottle and logo graphics, infused with strong Diesel DNA.

Me excited.

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Post runway show, don't mind me, I'll just be hanging poolside at the Raleigh for the Official Kick Off Party sipping hand-crafted signature cocktails at the Skyy bar with K. Cav while celeb DJ Jessica Szohr (aka Vanessa on Gossip Girl) will be spinning stylish jams (umm...who knew).

Don't hate me because I scored an invite. You can catch the Skyy-Diesel fashion show for yourself live at 7pm tonight at Diesel.com.

Visit -

http://www.facebook.com/SKYYVodka or http://www.facebook.com/Diesel

for more info about the killer collaboration between Kristin/Skyy and Diesel. Don't forget to explore the new Diesel Island campaign while you're there.

As for me, I'll be checking in with more dirt throughout the weekend, live from the sands of South Beach.

xoxo,
sammy

So, I have another Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kick Off under my skinny belt, and it's beginning to feel a lot like summer camp. Seeing old friends and faces from last season as we gather in front of the ol' familiar Camp Kawabunga tent. The only difference is, it's the Cabaña Grande tent, and instead of roasting weinies and marshmallows while singing cheesy folk songs by the campfire, we're eating tuna tartare amuse-bouches and swaying to Jessica Szohr's DJ set poolside.

Cut to the Diesel Swimwear Show - which served as the perfect opening act. I was surprised to see that the virtual pioneer in the world of denim veered away from incorporating any actual denim pieces into the collection, but there were a few icy blue faux denim suits and a definite Boogie Nights vibe that was strutting down the catwalk, with a handful of California landscape/skyline/palm tree patterned pieces I'd expect to see on Jackie and Donna à la That 70's Show. The men's suits were cute, one pair in particular that wasn't too long, wasn't too short, wasn't too pink or, pardon my candor, junk revealing.

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(Photo credits - Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for IMG)

As promised, Kristin Cavallari injected a clear shot of excitement into the evening wowing the crowd in a showstopping cobalt blue bikini accented with Skyy chandelier-like shards of glass.

Considering the fact that she isn't a model by profession, Kristin knocked it out of the tent with an impressive, composed and confident walk. I was surprised to see how teenie she was (like me!), and she looked better, naturally tanner and healthier than most of the models who preceded her down the Diesel runway.

She did look a bit nervous and kept sneaking shy peaks at her fiancé, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, but covered her nerves like a pro with a dazzling smile and even managed to appear genuine and convincing while waving around a ginormous Diesel flag around during the final walk.

Nicely done K. Cavall. I raise my glass to you and hope that your bikini glass didn't give you any unfortunate ouchies in your private bits and pieces.

More postcards from Camp Cabaña Grande to come...

Day 2 of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2012 took a romantic C cup turn as our favorite naughty yet nice luxury label, Beach Bunny Swimwear, returned to MBFW to debut their Lola Cruise 2012 collection featuring sparkly navy sequins, cheeky cheetah and cherry prints, bejeweled necklines and straps, side ties and black and white pieces that will serve beach bunnies and seas bunnies alike, whether in the bedroom or on the Lido deck.

As seaworthy as the Lola Cruise collection was, it was the Beach Bunny Bride reveal that really made a splash, as Beach Bunny debuted the first ever bridal swimwear collection.

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Photo Credits: MBFW

Since Beach Bunny's initial launch in 2004, they have been all about taking risks, flirting with lingerie style swimwear that makes girls feel too sexy for this party, the way they're disco dancing*(see footnote). This being said, it's no surprise to me that they proudly went where no swimwear designers have gone before, the bridal suite.

Ideal if you're getting married in a pool or on a party boat, this exclusive line features swimwear and cover-ups adorned in hand beaded pearls, delicate Chantilly lace, and Swarovski crystals - perfect for the bride-to-be who wants to show off her normally hidden assets to all of her guests while walking down the aisle.

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Sports Illustrated Rookie of the Year - the blond, buxom and beautiful 19 year old Kate Upton opened and closed the show as both the face of the Beach Bunny Bride and Cruise Collection campaigns. It's been a good year for Kate and her cups runneth over on the runway, especially in her showstopping final look - an embellished white crystal and pearl underwire bikini top paired with a high waisted bottom and accessorized with a traditional yet poofy bridal veil.

Personally, I wouldn't go there with a ten foot schooner, especially if you're getting married in a church. I'd only suit up in these suits for the honeymoon and/or the Bachelorette pool party ladies.

*Lyrics courtesy of "I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.

There's just something about Mara Hoffman, the former dancer turned NYC designer who was discovered when star-studded "Sex and the City" stylist Patricia Field discovered her on the street to compliment her outfit.

Maybe it's her worldy and otherworldly inspirations, from space age celestial visions to explorations of Egyptian ruins. Maybe it's her signature, immediately recognizable prints. Maybe it's her inane talent for mixing patterns. Maybe it's the cool limited edition shave cream cans she designed for Skintimate. Maybe it's the fact that we're both celebrating our third year together at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim. Whatever it is, Mara has been my Best in Fashion Show since she revealed her first swimwear collection back in 2008...and she has held the title ever since.

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(Photo credits: Randy Brooke)

Known for her colorful, bohemian Ready-to-Wear and Swimwear collections, Mara's new Resort 2012 collection brought back elements from two previously separated collections while incorporating a new lightweight woven cotton voile fabric that breezed down the runway creating a romantic, effortless and tropically hip feel.

From form fitting maxi dresses to bustier bikini tops, captivating corals to turquoise and tikis, I fell in love with every piece. Coverups, schmuver ups, I would wear every poncho dress, draped gown or dashiki out on the town as a dress and would receive nothing but compliments all night long.

I especially loved her new Vees print that added a soft whimsy to a rocking romper and her Vees cotton voile tunic that created a totally cool contrast to a pair of beautifully cut Cheetah print shorts. King Tut made a few tongue and cheeky appearances in a maillot, maxi dress and high waisted bikini. My most favorite look? A Violet Modal crop top with matching side tie bikini that I will most definitely be wearing on the beach next season.

Mara's models, as always, were styled with consistence, sporting wooden bangles piled high on both wrists, brilliant fishbone braided plaits created by Elsa Canedo for TRESemmé, hot pink tribal make-up by Lottie for Make Up Forever and Sammy-approved shoes by Kork-Ease.

Thank you again for another stunning show Mara. Looking forward to doing it again next year.

From a geographical standpoint, nobody does swimwear better than the Brazilians.

Just flip through any Victoria's Secret swimsuit catalog past or present and you'll find a bevvy of Brazilian born bikini clad beauties gracing every page, from Adriana Lima to Alessandra Ambrosia, lest we forget the highest earning supermodel in the industry, Gisele Bundchen.

Yes, Brazilians wear their swimsuits well, and in Cia.Maritima's case, they design their swimwear with just as much aplomb as the bombshells who model them.

Since their initial launch in 1990, the Cia.Maritima beachwear line has evolved into one of the hottest and most popular swimwear brands in Brazil, and beyond. Under the watchful eye of Benny Rosset, Cia.Maritima has found success in establishing a beachwear lifestyle concept, rather than just massively produced swimwear.



This season, Cia's 2012 collection drew inspiration from the French Riviera, embodying that je ne sais quoi quality found in style icons like Jane Birkin, Francoise Hardy and more fashionably French free spirits who spent their summers sunning and sauntering along the beaches of Saint Tropez.

Overall, I basked in the elegance present in the range of sophisticated bikinis, one pieces, monokinis and coverups that breezed down the runway, but it wasn't the cuts of the suits that stood out. It was all about the prints.

This season, Cia.Maritima's digital prints reflected the flora and fauna of the Riviera. I saw tantalizing tie dyes, sumptuous snakeskin, colorful florals and cheetah prints that were all designed to be mixed and matched so women can personalize their beach style with ease while standing out both on domestic and international sands.

Just like the Brazilians do.


Another Fashion Week season has come and gone, and I'm beginning to feel like a model Fashion Week attendee. It took awhile, but I diligently observed, listened and learned the ways of the week from the ground up. And now, I would like to share my pearls of wisdom with you.

Here are a few no-nos I've picked up along the way that should smooth the experience for first time Fashion Week virgins while hopefully ending the cycle of crimes committed by repeat Fashion Week offenders.

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Photos courtesy of MBFW

10. Don't get there too early. Shows run late and you will look too eager. If the show starts at 8, don't get there at 7. If you have a seating assignment, you should be fine arriving between 7:45 and 8.

9. Don't be too late. Shows need to start at least half past the hour. If the show starts at 8, don't show up at 8:35 then pitch a fit because some commoner has been given your front row seat.

8. Don't talk smack about anyone involved with the show, albeit a designer/model/celebrity, etc. You never know who is sitting next to you and who they are related to. Great Aunt Flo didn't come all the way from Alabama to hear her niece get trashed by the likes of you.

7. Don't be nasty to any chick wearing a headset. These are the queens of PR. They have the power and you do not. Accept it. Move on. Compliment their outfit.

6. Consequently, don't lie and say you're on the list when you know very well that you are not. The headsets that the goddesses of PR are wearing also contain hidden polygraph technology, so they will always know when you are a liar liar pants on fire.

5. Don't walk on the white runway after the plastic has been taken off. It is not for civilian feet to step on. It is for model feet only, and everyone knows that model feel are cleaner, prettier and more sacred than non-model feet.

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4. Don't pick your nose, your thong wedgie, floss, tweak your nipples or perform any other equally gross personal grooming ritual while in the tent. There are cameras everywhere. You might get captured in the background applying deoderant while the cameramen get their shots of the big name celebrity sitting in front of you. Also, the photographers will make fun of you and email the incriminating photos of you to their friends.

3. Don't get drunk. Being sloppy drunk is never chic.

2. Don't steal the schwag. Especially front row schwag. Yes, gift bags are cool, but is it really worth looking all stupid and shady just to swipe a bag with some facial cream and a salon coupon in it? No, it's not. You will look like a douche and the gift bag gods of karma will get you back by making you forget your "real bag" in the bathroom.

1. Don't ridicule the walks, bodies, or figure flaws of the models walking down the runway. You try walking the walk in a freezing tent with hundreds of eyes on you while half naked.

I triple dog dare you.

Let's Talk Style Quick Tip of the Week - How to, for Hot Hawaiian Hair. 10 words or less.

Kosher salt + water drops + Leave-in conditioner = Beachy waves.

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Kosher Salt - cheap, grocery store.
A few drops of water - free, from faucet.
Macadamia Natural Oil Nourishing Leave In Conditioner - $28, from folica.

Model Payment

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The model took it literally when the photographer told her she would be paid under the table.

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Samara Sanchez

About Sammy

Sammy Sanchez is a Miami based freelance writer, greeting card designer, and self-professed USWeeklyholic. Sammy loves tall coffee light frappuccinos, vino not from a box, and Mark Ruffalo...not necessarily in that order.
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