Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sarah and Mara for President!

Okay, so not president, exactly, but pretty close.  As you all know by now, Sarah and I are participating in the Lucky Lifestyle Contributor Contest.  I'm sure this seems like one of those "My Baby is the Cutest Baby in World History" contests, but it's a writing competition, one we actually have a chance at winning (there are 140-something current contestants, and we don't know how many will make it to the next round, but we're assuming at least thirty or forty).  If we do make it to the next round, we'll need as many votes as possible to put us in the top 10 or 20, in order to move on to the final round (at which point the judges will FINALLY weigh in). 

Below are our first two entries for the competition, just so you can get a feel of the work we've been doing.  Sarah has worked particularly hard on this and is going slightly insane trying to get votes for us.  I'm using a more passive aggressive approach, but hopefully you'll vote nonetheless.  It really isn't that difficult - just a few minutes of your valuable time. 

Sarah and I genuinely love Lucky Magazine.  It's the only magazine I pay to subscribe too, because it's the only magazine that features items I can actually afford.   Writing for a magazine like Lucky would be huge for my writing career, and it would allow Sarah to live in her fashion fantasy world for a few glorious months.

Sarah's goal is 75 votes by the end of the day - we have 68 right now!  Here's the link to vote:

Thanks to everyone who has helped out so far - we really appreciate it!

Round One Challenge: My Career, My Way

Style for Two
Style for Two
We're identical twins with very different lives, and very different styles.  But despite the fact that Mara is a writer and stay-at-home mom, and Sarah is an associate producer at a major documentary production company, neither of which lends itself to cutting-edge fashion, we both love clothing and try to maintain our own personal style every day.  As kids, we almost always wore matching outfits in different colors, but today our tastes reflect our unique lifestyles and personalities (although Mara still likes blue and Sarah still likes pink - go figure).
Mara: For me, working from home and taking care of my son requires that I be comfortable, first and foremost.  I also don't have a lot of time to get dressed in the morning with a toddler squawking in my ear, so one of the first things I did when I became a new mom was adopt a "uniform."  I figure if it's good enough for Vera Wang, it's good enough for me!  Skinny jeans and extra-soft T-shirts (I have my eye on several of the new designs from Style Mint) are a staple in my wardrobe.  In the winter I wear a lot of cozy vintage sweaters and accesorize with colorful scarves I've collected over the years.
Sarah:  My background is in wildlife biology, and I currently work as a natural history filmmaker  - educating people about animals and the environment is my big passion, and I try to live as eco-consciously as possible even though I'm based in a big city.  I don't own a car and walk to work every day, so practical footwear is key.  I think my TOMS make a far more stylish choice than gym shoes; they're super comfortable, and socially responsible - you can't beat that!  Living in Washington, D.C., is expensive, and TV production doesn't pay all that well, so I don't have a ton of expendable income to dedicate to my wardrobe.  To keep things updated, I layer like it's nobody's business.  I call Mara every day on my walk to work, and often describe what I'm wearing; one day I think I literally had four pieces just on my top half!  Anthropologie carries surprisingly inexpensive belts, which I love to put over a vest (over a blouse, over a tank...you get the idea).  And for unexpected afternoon thunderstorms, my J. Crew wellies are a lifesaver.
Mara: Maintaining personal style as a stay-at-home mom can be a challenge.  For the first year of my son's life I was breastfeeding, so I wore a lot of henleys in the winter and button-down blouses in the spring and summer.  I also had to stop wearing many of my accessories because my son found them so intriguing (i.e., he tried to eat them).  I have to wash my clothing frequently - I would estimate I end up wearing an entire meal's worth of food by the end of the day - so nothing I wear on a daily basis can be too precious.  Fortunately, there are so many great affordable options these days, from Target to H&M, that I can indulge in the latest trends without breaking the bank.  When I get to go out with Sarah and my girlfriends, or on a rare date night with my husband, I take the opportunity to break out a dress (I bought several from ModCloth and French Connection this year) and a pair of heels.  My personal style signifiers are my black and gold Ray Bans and the large stainless steel watch my husband gave me for our first wedding anniversary.  And my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag, of course.
Sarah: My company's dress code is virtually non-existent - it's common to see editors in shorts and flip-flops - so the fashion bar is set pretty low.  But after years of working outdoors with animals and wearing jeans and T-shirts on a daily basis, I do kind of relish the opportunity to dress up for work, even if I'm the only one paying attention.  I've got a stash of high-heels neatly organized on a shoe rack under my desk (I've been teased more than a few times for that, I assure you), but it's also great to know that I can wear my skinny jeans and Frye motorcycle boots all day if I want to and no one will bat an eyelash.  With all the pavement pounding I do, I quickly learned to invest in quality footwear and resole as needed.  I also love tribal prints, and Urban Outfitters is a great source for items like ikat shorts or Pendleton bags.
Mara: I happen to be friends with quite a few stylish moms, which is great.  It gives me ideas on how to keep my look fresh without sacrificing comfort.  One of my friends is always on the go, so she wears comfortable workout clothes that also happen to be stylish (think Stella McCartney for Adidas).  Another friend wears tunics and leggings with big, bold necklaces from Anthropologie and asos.com.
Sarah: I work with a lot of men (all of whom vaguely resemble lumber jacks these days...), but amidst the sea of beards and flannel, there are a few very stylish women at my office.  One friend goes for an "ethnic chic" look, with large earrings and scarves from both her travels and one of her favorite stores, H&M.  Another is more polished, preferring structured Ann Taylor dresses (that she gets for a steal on eBay), heels, and bold accessories.
Mara: I admit it - sometimes I get lazy.  While I almost always make sure I'm "dressed" when I go out, occasionally I'll dash out to run an errand in my workout clothes (I have a treadmill in the basement, so I can stay fit while my son naps; it also doubles as my office, where I do most of my writing).  I learned my lesson last month, however, when I realized about half-way down the street that one of the leg flaps on my running shorts was tucked into the attached underwear.  I'd just given a gardener a lovely peek of cheek.  Oops!
Sarah: I'm finally getting to travel more for work as a field producer, which is awesome.  But maintaining personal style in some of the most remote places on Earth has its own challenges.  Just two weeks ago I was on a shoot in the Arctic, and my producer decided she wanted me on camera with the gorgeous biologist we were interviewing for one of the scenes.  I was already looking less than fashionable in a giant orange puffer coat, black ski pants, and bright blue hiking boots (circa 2001), when my boots started to literally fall apart at the seams.  I hobbled off camera crying, "Wardrobe malfunction!"  A bit of duct tape and I was back "on set," feeling seriously un-camera worthy.

Round Two: My Go-To Beauty

Style for Two: My Go-To Beauty
Day to Night: One Item, Two Ways
When it comes to fashion, being an identical twin has its perks.  We wear the same size, so we basically have double the wardrobe at our fingertips. Sometimes we'll love a piece so much that we both buy it; other times, one of us buys the item under the proviso the other gets to borrow it.  But despite the fact that we often gravitate towards the same pieces, we generally end up styling that one item in very different ways.
Mara: I fell in love with the ikat/peacock feather print on this blouse, and the price was right at $29.  As a stay-at-home mom and writer, I love that I can style this blouse as casually or dressy as I want.  For daytime, I'd pair it with skinny gray jeans from the GAP and a black tank.  The necklace is one of Sarah's many vintage pieces, and this one happens to be sturdy enough to withstand my toddler's remarkably strong grip.  The shoes are also Sarah's, a pair she had custom-made in Cambodia that I have long coveted.  The platform wedge makes them comfy enough for every day.
Summer in D.C. is brutally hot and humid, and Sarah and I have naturally wavy hair, so it's a struggle to keep it straight (my preferred look).  I wear a ponytail when I don't have time to style it (I buy elastic hair ties from Etsy - they come in fun colors and don't crease your hair), and the John Frieda 3-Day Straight really does seem to keep my hair from getting frizzy on the second day.  When my son was born, I made a vow to never leave the house without at least putting on concealer, mascara, and lip gloss.  I think you can pretty much get away with anything if you have those three items. I buy most of my makeup at the drugstore (Maybelline Great Lash is still my favorite, and the e.l.f. Cosmetics sold at Target are great), but for concealer, foundation, and blush, I prefer Origins or Clinique.
Sarah: As soon as I saw Mara's new blouse, I was envious.  Thank goodness Mara is pretty generous when it comes to sharing.  Every item I'm wearing was $30 or less; the skirt is from Forever 21, the belt is from Anthropologie, and the shoes are vintage.  The bracelet is from Cambodia (the same trip where I had my custom shoes made!).
I'm usually rushing around in the morning before work, so I often put my hair in a ponytail and just blow-dry my bangs.  I'm also super low-maintenance in the makeup department - for this look, just some Wet N' Wild red lipstick, cover-up, Maybelline Great Lash mascara, and some eyeliner on the top lid only.   

Mara: The second item is a dress I bought on Modcloth.com earlier this year.  I loved the geometric print, the pocket details, and the fact that it could be dressed up or down.  The waist calls for a belt, in this case red leather.  The belt, shoes, necklace (all less than $5 each), and clutch are all Sarah's, and all vintage.  Sarah and I ride horses, hence the Bakelite horsehead brooch.
At night, I generally just try to smooth out any frizzies and add a little lift with volume spray.  If I have time I'll curl my hair, but my transition time is usually the thirty minutes between putting my son to bed and the babysitter's arrival.  I'll add a little more eye makeup for the evening (I use dark brown eyeshadow as liner unless I'm going for a really dramatic eye) and lipstick, like this fun pinky-red I borrowed from Sarah.

Sarah: Another piece from Mara's wardrobe that I've got my eye on - this cute Modcloth dress.  For evening, I usually amp up the eyeliner for a smoky look and keep the lips simple.  My belt and blazer are both from Urban Outfitters, and the ankle boots are from MaxStudio (a bit of a splurge for me, but they are super comfy).  The silver clutch was handmade by a friend.
Unlike Mara, I lack the patience to flatiron my hair 99% of the time, so I scrunch my towel-dried hair with some Redken Nature's Rescue Radiant Sea Spray (this stuff is awesome), followed by a dab of MoroccanOil curl cream.

Follow this link to see our photos:

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