April 29, 2010

It's Good To Be Two

"Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you." Psalm 139:16

Two years ago today, my husband and I (and our firstborn Jack and first baby Sophie dog!) welcomed our precious 2nd son Walker into the world! My, how time really does fly by when you're having fun...and raising two small children! The top photo is W on his first birthday with a Mickey Mouse plane his big brother got when he turned one. It was a hand me down toy that didn't light up anymore or twirl or make noise, but he really got attached to it nonetheless. So this year for his big second birthday, we got Walker his very own NEW Mickey plane, lights and all, shown below with his daddy.

There are so many reasons we are thankful for Walker, it would be difficult to explain them all. Like all babies and children that are born, it's a miracle that they even happen and are here on this earth, and they are truly tiny miracles of life. My husband and I knew that we reeeaally wanted to give Jack a sibling and add to our family, so when it did happen, I was thankful beyond belief because I know firsthand that conceiving a child is not as easy and guaranteed as it sounds! I guess God agreed that our family should continue to grow! Yay!

Birthdays for my children are extremely special because it means that I get to relive the constant changes and progress that I experienced with my first son all over again through Walker! Every hour of every day I am with them, shows the process of who they are becoming, how they are developing, and that's fascinating. I mean, he can actually blow bubbles now on his own, and laugh and enjoy them- that's so neat and shows such hand eye coordination! (Is that the nerdy mom in me coming out by noticing that?!)

My husband and I always laugh about W's personality saying that he is certainly his own little guy because of some of his funny antics and stubbornness, and nothing could go along with that comment more than the scripture, "Each one of us is an original" Galatians 5:26. I'm glad he's an original and I am so grateful to be celebrating his second birthday. I think if Walker could form the words just yet, he would say "It's good to be two!"

April 26, 2010

JennySue Makeup Agrees With InStyle Best Beauty Buys...Almost

I so look forward to getting the issue of InStyle magazine that lists the years "Best Beauty Buys" according to their panel of experts in every category of beauty. This one marked their 15th annual issue, so I was super pumped to flip through and see what I was missing (and therefore need to go straight out and buy;-)), but also, what did I already have that the pros favored!

Here's what JennySue already owns that I agree is the best of the best in it's category (and why), and what products I think fall short of being given the "best" title (and why):

Deserving of "BEST":

1. Smashbox Photo Finish Oil Free Primer ($36). Yes, this wins basically every year in the primer category. It helps fill in very fine lines and masks pores so that your foundation goes on smoother as well as making your foundation last longer.

2. L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Foundation ($11). I have been singing this stuffs praises for over two years. This is my go to foundation in my tool box and carry it in all the levels of colors (neutral, warms, cools). It's oil free (but I use it on oily, dry, and normal gals-everyone), lightweight, definitely super blendable, and gives a realistic flawless finish.

3. Make Up For EVer HD Microfinish Powder ($30). This colorless extremely fine powder does just what it says, it finishes your look. I put this on very last to leave a soft almost matte finish to the skin. It's an extra step, but so worth it.

4. Nars Powder Blush ($26). This blush is also a yearly winner and never lets me down. It's pigments are perfect and never leaves streaks or disappoints in the color category range. These blushes are plain perfect and work for every skin type.

5. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler ($19) & Lancome Bifacil Eyemakeup Remover ($26)-Not Pictured. I forgot to add these two staples to the picture, but I personally use these products everyday of my life. The curler goes without saying as being the best ever created and the eyemakeup remover takes off the hardest waterproof mascara without being the slight bit greasy.

6. MAC Pro Longwear Lipcolor ($21). If I HAD to choose a longwearing lip color that stays decently it would be this one. It's not perfect, and tends to get a bit dry in my opinion, but does stay on for a dang long time. Just be sure to keep the product on hand throughout the day because you'll need to constantly reapply the clear gloss to keep it feeling moist enough.

7. L'Oreal Feria Haircolor ($10)- Not pictured because I already used the box. I've been using Feria for a loooong time (been coloring my hair myself for at least 12 years) and this is always the at home kit I go back too. I use color 40-Espresso because it's almost black, but not quite, with a rich, well espresso bean like brown! You can see this color in all it's glory on my head below with my sweet almost 2 year old Walker. (Although this pic was after sweating my you know what off in the sun at a strawberry farm on a field trip for my son's school. Not the most glamorous head shot, but at least I had on sunglasses and a cute child to distract from my rugged appearance! )

8. Moroccan Oil Treatment ($39). I use a few drops of this oil on my damp hair everytime I get out of the shower from washing my hair before I blow dry. It's sooo nourishing and weightless and gives my hair a lovely texture. Big fan of this stuff, just check out an older blog I did on it.

9. Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defense Daily moisturizer with SPF 50 ($14). You get blockage from both types of rays (yes should block both UVA & UVB if you didn't realize that) and a huge shield from the sun with the 50 rank. It's also non-greasy, so much so that even my hubby will wear it during the day because it soaks in quickly.

10. St. Tropez Body Self Tanner ($30). I have the mousse version of their self tanner and it's the bomb. I did a blog on it not too long ago and was extremely impressed. I'm sure the lotion version is just as good and not smelly at all like the cheaper versions.

Not So Deserving of "BEST":

1. Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara ($5). As much as I do like this cheapo brand of waterproof mascara, I also believe there are a couple better drugstore formulas out there. I'd put Cover Girl Lash Blast ($8) in the waterproof formula right above this one.

2. Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash ($4). I think I bought this brand of body wash 5 months ago after reading that it moisturizes so well (in Allure magazine though) that you don't even need lotion after getting out of the bath/shower. I think that's bologna. This stuff doesn't hydrate any better than my Ivory soap in the shower. I will keep searching for the best body wash because this ain't it in my opinion.

So there's my two cents if you wanted it! And if you've read this issue and heard of the following product-or had a personal experience with it- please tell me if it's worth the $450 price tag!! Yes, their vote for best flatiron for hair is the FHI Heat Runway Ceramic. I cannot fathom paying 450 big ones for a hot piece of styling tool unless it also came with a foot massage and made my breakfast too.

April 23, 2010

This Little Piggy Went To Prada

My sweet goddaughter, Susie shown above, gave me the book of nursery rhymes for the (Manolo) Blahnik brigade, entitled, "This Little Piggy Went To Prada" a few years ago. This photo just stole my heart (photo by my talented friend Abbey of Dylan Blue Photography of course) and encompasses this beautiful child I love like my own. She obviously knows her fairy godmother well when she got me this cutesy little book of classic nursery rhymes that are twisted to amuse fashion forward mommies and fashionistas!

And she also must have had a hunch a few years ago, that her own godmother would one day be pregnant with her own little girly girl to have bought her such a book!!! Yes, JennySue is having a little girl in the fall!! If you follow my blog, you know I already have two precious little men in my life and now will be giving these two boys a baby sister. I'm over the moon excited and just had to share the good news.

After the big news was revealed yesterday, my thoughtful sis-n-law purchased baby girl her first pink poodle blanket. It's shown next to one of the entries in this book that I just love. It's a take on the old school, Frere Jacques rhyme and says (since you prob can't read the fine print):

Louis Vuitton, Louis Vuitton,

Mulberry, Mulberry?

Nappy Bag Dilemma- Lulu, Kate or Anya?
Shopping spree, buy all three!

Yesterday was super fun finding out what my 3rd child is going to be and now I will actually have a little one who might not mind playing in makeup, the correct way!! Here's also a pic of my best girlfriends (two missing from the pic that had to leave early-sorry E and A) that celebrated the news at dinner with me. I had to show up in a pink shirt so that the girls would know immediately that we would be welcoming another girl into the world! This baby girl thing should be fun...and expensive if I follow the "This little piggy went to Prada" way!!

April 20, 2010

The Best and Most Realistic Self Tanner On The Market...Really

I don't tan very well anymore. I used to as a teenager, but something went very wrong when I got into college, and my skin tone changed completely and decided it didn't like the sun anymore.

Which is okay because NOW I don't obsess over sitting outside in the sun with no sunscreen for multiple hours to get that rich golden tan that would eventually cause me to look 8-10 years older than I should bc it would fry my face and body. Not worth it. With that said, I do looove the look of having a little more color than I do during the winter, so I am always on the lookout for the best self tanner possible.

Well I found one that does all of the below requirements I want in a self tanner, extremely well: St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($30). (I have included pictures of me and my son Jack to show you the difference in skin color after two applications of this stuff. Jack has my natural skin coloring-what I would look like without self tanner-so thought this would be a good example of how natural this stuff turns out. It's on my face and body, NO bronzer on my face whatsover, just tinted moisturizer).

Here's what my St. Tropez does for me, contains or does not contain, that makes it perfect:

  • No scent. I do not like self tanner smell, point blank. I want it as fragrance free as possible so it doesn't interfere with my perfume.
  • I want to see where it's going while I apply it. This is one product I don't like the surprise element when it eventually dries up and you see that you've gotten dark forearms and super white shoulders. Not cute and a big red flag that, "hey! look at my self tanning job!"
  • It dries super fast. I don't have time to sit around naked in my bathroom for 15 minutes twiddling my thumbs while I wait for my tanner to dry before I put clothes on. And I don't want it ruining my nice expensive clothes (or my nice Old Navy clothes!) once I put them on.
(my forearm against Jack's to show you the difference)
  • It should look as natural as possible. No orange oompa loompa look for me. Even though I might seem like a hypocrite for looking like I really sat by the pool for 4 hours, I'd rather people think that than immediately think, "wow, that's some self tanner she's
  • got on." You know those people that wear the obvious stuff;-) I read that St. Tropez contains some green in it to make sure it doesn't go orange on you.

I have been amazed how well this tanner does everything I want it to. St. Tropez just won a "Best Beauty Buy" in this month's In Style Magazine, for Best Body Self Tanner (the lotion version). I use my mousse on my body and face and finds it works really well on both so I don't have to buy two separate products. I've had my bottle since the beginning of March and still have a good bit left so my 30 bucks is stretching. I really don't think after using this brand of tanning products, that I will ever be able to go back to any other line of self tanners, it's that good.

April 17, 2010

Slow Down

Wedding season is definitely in full swing (spring and summers are typically very popular for brides- my own wedding was in July!) which means that basically all my Saturdays are booked doing makeup from now until my due date for baby number 3! Whew, that makes me tired just thinking about my schedule and upcoming weekends. But don't get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and am very thankful for all these wedding dates. But I am human too and it's okay to admit being overwhelmed at times right?! Insert calm beautiful scenery above and below.

Which brings me to my "slow down" title. I had a wedding booked today which was located up in the mountains about 2.5 hours away from my house. Normally I don't like to be too far away from my family on the weekends because it's our only time to all really be together with no other agendas like during the busy weekdays. But this drive up into the north Georgia mountains was actually a nice relaxing treat!! (All of these pictures show the serene views I got to enjoy on my road trip). Instead of focusing on the fact that I was missing my family, my parents that had come into town to visit, and that I had a birthday party to throw for my soon to be 2 year old the next day, I soaked in the quietness of my surroundings (which is typically filled with questions, singing, more questions, annoying childrens cd's, and sometimes crying) and enjoyed it. I needed this 5 hour round trip to re-focus on myself and realize how I don't need to feel like I need to do it all, all the time. I need to slow down and stop and smell the roses if you will. This "slow" sign I drove by just spoke to me.

Before I had headed out for this wedding job, I had looked over my handy dandy calendar on my phone while filling up my car with gas. It immediately overwhelmed me all the "things": playdates/appointments/jobs/consults/doctor & vet appointments/volunteer groups, I have scheduled myself with. Granted a lot of these things are must do's to keep my household and business running, but I also pondered on how many of these other "things" were really necessary and/or were they "things" that really made me happy?? I know we as women sometimes think we need to have our hands in a little bit of everything to stay in the loop, but the idea of being perfect and so involved might not always be the best way to go.

So while I curved along the winding roads of these mountains with no radio on because, A. I liked the quiet, and B. there weren't any clear stations coming in anyway, I reminded myself of a very smart quote I had recently read and couldn't get out of my head:

"Let go of perfect, and focus more on the idea of being good enough."

This came from a successful mom of three and editor in chief of Real Simple magazine, one of my favorite mags, Kristin van Ogtrop. Let's face it, no one is truly perfect, and those that try too hard to be perfect, are annoying. Granted I want to strive to be the best mom/friend/wife I can be, not strive to be the best mom I want everyone else to see. In order to do this, I'm going to need to slow down and delete some of those unnecessary "things" on my electronic calendar and enjoy being me in my own situation. Just saying that out loud gives me a big sigh of relief and makes me want to drive with the windows down and radio off more often:-)

April 14, 2010

My New Favorite Cheapo Concealer :: Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hour Concealer

There are 4 makeup products I always wear before I head out of the door:

  1. mascara
  2. lipgloss
  3. blush

Concealer being one of the most important products that keeps me from looking like the cat dragged me out of bed. Dark circles and blotchy red spots can ruin a face no matter what other makeup you have on. So I'm always on the lookout for a new super duper concealer that is actually going to stay on throughout my busy hot days during the spring and summer. And thanks to my lovely mother who is always ahead of the game in trying out the latest and greatest beauty products and then passing that info onto me, she introduced me to Maybelline's SuperStay 24 Hour concealer ($7). Big thanks Mom- I knew I got my passion for beauty products from you!!

Now let me preface this 24 hour description as not being quite correct- I'd say more like 6-8 hours is more like it, but hey, that's pretty good for a drugstore brand. I found this stuff doesn't settle into fine lines around the eyes like some color stay products do and it's dry enough that it really stays put where you put it!! The color choices are limited, but I mix the lightest and next lightest one offered (ivory and light) and it matches my skin tone perfectly. Check out my photo above which shows my left eye with no concealer (the one on your right!) and the right one with concealer already applied. Pretty perfect match huh?

So if you're in the market for a new long lasting concealer, I'd definitely give it two manicured thumbs up! **And for extra staying power, always set your concealer with a little translucent powder right on top.**

April 12, 2010

JennySue Makeup Is a "Budget Babe"!

If you've never come across the cool blogsite, Budget Babe, you need to because it's fabulously frugal! With me expecting a third baby and tight funds, I can still look "fab without a fortune"(the Budget Babe's tag line) by following this site. This blog delivers daily updates on how to dress like celebrities on a budget and where to find the latest and greatest knockoffs of designer things!

I recently have been obsessed with the wide clear lucite type cuff worn by Jessica Szohr (actress from Gossip Girl), on the front of Lucky magazine's April issue (check out my photo

on top). Only problem, is this wanted piece was $300, for ONE bracelet!! So the budget babe in me went on a wild goose chase for something similar to this. Luckily I checked out New York & Company -they always have the best accessories at great prices- at the mall and low and behold, they had exactly what I was looking for!!

Woo Hoo!! I spent $16 bucks on my bangle shown above, and since it's clear it literally goes with everything I own. I feel like a major budget babe after finding this very similar piece for a fraction of the price. So check out the budget babe to get fashionably inspired...you'll be glad you did!!

April 10, 2010

How I Wash and Clean My Makeup Brushes

Before I get to the brush cleaning tutorial, I have to apologize for being out of the loop lately. I've been working (with a little bit of playtime thrown in!) in the big ATL at the Atlanta Apparel Show with my old showroom I used to work at years ago before I had my kiddos!! The apparel shows happen about 5 times a year and showcases all sorts of clothing and apparel lines and their new collections for the upcoming seasons. It's a clothes lovers dream!!

One of my fave lines that is sold in the showroom I work in is called Free People (a womens division of Urban Outfitters) and has the coolest hippie chic contemporary clothing!! This is me trying on one of their older styles from the "We The Free" collection because yes, it fit my pregnant self which I totally dug. I could still feel young and trendy while having a growing belly!

The picture below is of me and some of my girlfriends I worked with at the show at a local yummy Thai restaurant called Mali in the Virginia Highlands after a long day of showing the latest and hottest trendy clothes. This place was fantastic and had everything from Thai to sushi. Needless to say I've been super busy and am just now getting back into the swing of things and being around a computer!

BEFORE I left for the big city, I of course had to pack up all my makeup and brushes to be able to put on my face everyday. The most important thing I did was CLEAN AND WASH MY BRUSHES!! Clean brushes are so key to anyone's makeup going on better and it's super easy to do it. I constantly find that most women don't wash their brushes enough and wonder why their expensive makeup just doesn't cut it anymore?? Duh. It's because their tools are dirty which makes their pretty makeup dirty!!

Here's how I do it, and it literally takes maybe 5 minutes to wash and overnight to dry:

1. Get an antibacterial concentrated dishwashing liquid, any cheap brand will do. Yes, I've been using this WalMart's orange Great Value detergent for a couple years. It is literally like $2 and lasts forever. No pricey fancy brush cleaner needed, that's such a racket/gimmick in my opinion. If this stuff cuts grease off pots and pans, it'll cut the grease and caked on makeup off my brushes.

2. Use very warm water and a teeny tiny drop of soap to rub into the bristles only until the water runs clear (no more pink blush and blue shadow running down the water!). Since the detergent is so concentrated, remember you are using soap for an eye shadow brush NOT an actual frying pan or wok!

3. Lay your brushes horizontal on a towel to dry and flatten the bristles (as shown in top picture). Never dry your brushes straight up in a cup or vertical bc the water will seep down into the handle of your brush and cause them to crack and come loose over time from the actual bristles.

4. Give them overnight to completely dry on their own. This might seem like a long time, but you're not doing your makeup while you sleep right??

Cleanliness is next to God-liness right?? So clean those brushes to get the maximum out of all your makeup products.

April 6, 2010

JennySue Makeup Product Review :: Hold Me Bag

It's a given that if you wear makeup, from a minimalist to a makeup maven, you have something you are putting/storing/organizing your makeup in. Whether it be a ziploc bag or a huge titanium silver tackle box (that's me!), everyone has something to put their beloved makeup products in.

For my job, I carry around 3 huge bags and yes literally tackle-type boxes from Sephora that hold all of my products. However, these bags are NOT conducive to my everyday makeup life and for personal travel. In walks the Hold Me Bag to save the day!!!

Even though I do wear a lot of makeup on a daily basis (the top picture is a sampling of my everyday products!), I don't need my full arsenal staring me in the face and I needed something to take my favorite products and brushes with me out of town two weeks ago. The Hold Me Bag has literally changed the way I see makeup bags. This is one of the most unique and smartest organizational products I've seen (and I look at travel bags all the time trying to find something that will efficiently hold all my stuff, AND look cute and sophisticated while doing it!) and used.

When I first received my bag in the mail, (a huge thank you Cheryl- you sent this at just the right time!), I was honestly skeptical, "is this thing realllly going to be able to hold ALL of my products without busting open??" But once I filled it with everything I needed, and zipped it up and tied it up, I was shocked and amazed- it all fit and looked so beautiful and travel ready!!

Here's why I'm excited about my bag:

1. It looks cool yet sophisticated and holds EVERYTHING. The interesting wrap-a-around self tie closure on the outside is modeled after a vintage schoolgirl's book bag bc it accommodates different degrees of depth depending on how much "stuff" you try to "stuff" in the bag! It grows with your items, unlike with the use of magnets or velcro on the outside.

2. Fabric looks luxurious while also being easy to clean. No cheapy plastic travel bag here! Let's face it- makeup is messy and it can ruin a makeup bag. The fabric this bag uses is called "knew-suede" which I'd never heard of, but is very expensive looking and feels great, yet seems really durable. It also surprisingly cleans well with just mild soap and water!

3. Comes with cute interior patterns. I got the Miss Suki pattern which looks like little

Harajuku girls, but it also comes in other patterns. Very classic looking on the exterior, cute and trendy on the interior!

4. It holds a lot of makeup brushes. This is always where I have been disappointed in other bags bc there is usually no thought as to where to hold your brushes where they don't get crushed. This one keeps them smartly separated, straight up, and not banging into each other. This is the most brilliant part in my opinion bc I pay a lot of money for my brushes and want them safely stored when traveling!

I know I've gone on and on about a makeup bag, but if you wear makeup and want to keep it nicely organized and safely stored without breaking all those expensive products you bought, while also looking chic while doing it, this Hold Me Bag is perfection. Well worth the $100 price tag for something that I use every single day now for my personal use.

April 4, 2010

Hoppy Easter Everyone!

It has been a wonderful Easter Sunday so far and I just had to share a small post of our morning with the boys and a family photo that actually turned out pretty decent right before church! If you have children, you realize what a huge deal it is to get EVERYONE looking straight at a camera! It's a priceless moment when it happens.

Here is what I love about Easter:

1. Obviously the story of Jesus' resurrection. A Hollywood movie writer couldn't have thought up a more amazing story that would touch so many people and mean so much!

2. Even though Easter Sunday is not the official first day of Spring, for some reason I associate the beginning of Spring with this special day. I feel like my flowers are just now starting to bloom and everything looks a little more colorful today!

3. A reason to get all dressed up in bright spring colors and buy new clothes;-) This year though, I just bought my boys new clothes and "resurrected" an old dress for my new prego figure;-)

4. Chocolate bunnies and eggs. "NO Bunny" is safe around my house while I'm pregnant, as you can see from this headless hollow chocolate rabbit.

5. Easter egg hunts. I'm not a hugely competitive person, but how fun is it to run around the yard and try to collect the most eggs to be the big winner?! My oldest son is fascinated with this holiday tradition and we've already had two egg hunts, and the day isn't over yet.

I didn't buy a new dress this Easter, but I did try out my new eyeliner by Avon, SuperShock gel eyeliner pencil in "bronze" ($6 ). It's super duper soft which I like bc I don't have to tug all over my eyelid to get it on, and the color was nice and rich with a hint of shimmer. And the good neutral color went nicely with my Stila "holly golightly" ($18)shadow in the crease (this is a very pretty bronze brown that has just the right amount of shimmer in it).

Hope everyone else had a wonderful Easter Sunday and was able to spend it with family and friends. Stay tuned to JennySue this week as I have a fabulous makeup bag product I was lucky enough to try out and put to the test when I traveled last weekend!

April 1, 2010

Red Hot Cult Favorite :: MAC Russian Red Lipstick

I have read more about MAC's Russian Red lipstick ($14) than probably any other red lip color on the market. It is a celebrity cult favorite and has devotees like Gwen Stefani (shocker huh?ha!), Christina Aguilera and Scarlett Johannson just to name a few.
And with red being such a "hot" color, of course I always have to have it on hand. This is the second tube I've bought, and I always get asked what my favorite red color is for females and this would be my answer for medium skin toned women. The MAC website claims it's a blue-ish toned red, but I almost disagree- is that okay to disagree with the professionals who created it?? I feel it leans more being just a true to goodness red (with no blue!).
I wore it to my kids Easter egg hunt at school (that's me and my oldest- he was flat wore out after running around in the heat to find eggs on the playground- I obviously didn't work as hard;-)) and paired it with simple skin, bright cheeks and simple neutral eye shadow. Luckily red lipstick makes such a statement by itself that I don't need to do a whole lot in terms of the rest of my makeup or it looks overdone. So I just swipe it on before heading to the preschool and feel immediately more glamorous!!

Russian Red totally reminds me of the red on my Diet Coke can, so I just had to photograph it so you could see the similarity!
This red is definitely a "look at me" type color, so this is NOT for the faint of heart- it's matte (not shiny or glossy) and rich and very opaque.
If you want to find the right red for your coloring, here are some options and guidelines:
  • 1. Fair complexions: Go for reds with blue undertones like Maybelline's color Sensational lipstick in "are you red-dy" ($5).
  • 2. Medium complexions. Go for goldish, almost orangey/brick colored formulas. I think "russian red" falls into this category rather than the blue category- but what do I know! I just know I fall into the medium skin tone category and this one works for me.
  • 3. Dark complexions. Go for berry rich shades like Dior's Replenishing lipcolor in "red premiere" ($29).
Now I join the ranks of Gwen, Christina, and Scarlett of ladies who love Russian Red!!