September 30, 2014

Product Review :: theBalm What's Your Type "The Body Builder" Mascara

I'm never happy with just one mascara.  I'm always thinking there is another one out there that will top my current favorite and be the next best thing for my lashes.  I switch out mascaras almost every other day.  Mascara (and brows) and the 2 things I would NEVER walk out of the house without.

So of course I was super pumped when I received theBalm "The Body Builder" mascara, $19, because, well, the packaging (as with all of their products) is SO stinking cute and whimsical!!
The cartoon buff muscle bound guy on the box got me excited when he says that it gives lashes described as:

  • BOLD
Sounds like the perfect man, I mean, mascara right??  Check out my results with it.

I believe that The Body Builder totally delivers what it says.  The most stand out descriptions that ring true are that it defines and makes my lashes look lots longer.  It did not budge or smudge throughout the day even though it isn't waterproof.  It's only available in black, but why would you want it in any other color??  This is definitely worth a 20 dollar bill in my mascara obsessed opinion.  
Here is my previous post on theBalm Cheek and Lip cream palette if you missed it.

My lip gloss I'm sporting in this post is also compliments of the theBalm, Read My Lips lip gloss in Zaap!, $15.  A really pretty sheer raspberry pink shade.

Have you tried to buff up your lashes with this body building mascara before?  Thoughts?

(These products were sent to me for consideration only by theBalm. All opinions about this and their other products are honest and my very own.)

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September 29, 2014

My Social Media Cleanse Experience Inspired by ABC's "Selfie"

My name is Jennifer, and I am a social media addict. Ok, maybe addict is a strong word, but I reeaallly like my social media channels.  I’m not exactly sure how many times a day I look at my phone, but I’m pretty sure it’s in the hundreds. My right thumb is constantly numb from using it so much.  So when I heard about the upcoming romantic comedy on ABC called “Selfie,” I knew I wasn’t alone because someone was making a show out of our obsession with our smart phones and social media!    
In a nutshell, “Selfie” follows social media obsessed Eliza Dooley who loses some of that personal contact with her peers and friends because she is constantly attached to her phone. She wants to do better though by giving up “likes” to be liked and learn to live in the real world.  And let’s face it, we could all benefit from a day of living in the moment and getting our heads out of our…clouds!!  After watching the “Selfie” sneak peeks here, I could relate in a big way to Eliza and falling into the trap of wanting to feel the social media love in order to find your self worth.  

Being a beauty blogger and a makeup artist, social media is everything in terms of how I promote myself, my work, and my posts. I can’t just write a blog post and hope it’ll be seen. I gotta share it, tweet it out, and comment on other people’s blogs throughout my day.  And as a mom to three, I HAVE to take pictures of my kids and post them on Facebook and Instagram for the world to see because I’m so proud I birthed them!  (And I can’t deny how much fun it is to pick a filter and make whatever I’m doing look a little bit cooler than it is.)

So since this show is all Eliza learning to live in the moment rather than always capturing it with a phone, I decided to participate in my own social media cleanse.  I took a personality quiz which figured out what type of cleanse I should take and it turned out I was a "Mobile Maniac."  This is a person who tends to enjoy my phone during meals (rather than the person across from me) and I’ve been injured before due to looking at my phone and not paying attention (yes I’ve walked into a door frame before many times and stepped on Legos barefoot which really hurts).  I also tend to panic when I can’t find my phone in a 5 minute span.  

My challenge was to go 24 hours without my phone and to seriously only use it as a phone, nothing else.  Here’s how it felt to take an entire day without my phone attached to me…
  • I woke my kids up, made their breakfasts and school lunches, and got them dressed and ready for school in a record amount of time.  I believe this happened because I didn’t waste time checking Twitter for my morning news or clicking on Instagram to see what people were having for breakfast or what they had done the night before. We also had some lovely morning conversations that stemmed from not being rushed.
  • I took a Zumba class and had lunch with my best friend of 30 years.  It was nice to not be on a treadmill where I usually get bored which ends in me looking at my phone to pass the time and not truly breaking a sweat.  And then lunch was wonderful because I didn’t once pull out my phone to do or look at anything.  My girlfriend and I had an honest to God juicy conversation and it was nice to be completely focused on her rather than wanting to photograph my lovely chicken salad plate that seemed worthy of Instagramming. 
  • I went to the doctors office and read an actual magazine in the waiting room. When was the last time you read a real print magazine?? I gave Garden And Gun a chance, and surprisingly found it to be a very good read!
  • I took my daughter to the park and actually PLAYED with her! Usually I’ll find a bench and flip through Facebook to see what everyone is up to, but this time I got involved. I could tell she even enjoyed it more to have mom be silly and swing and slide with her. So ok, I did take our “selfie” to commemorate the moment but didn’t share it with anyone (until now)!
  • I went to sleep quickly and peacefully without staring at the bright screen light of my phone in my bed.  I feel asleep knowing I had been present today, and it felt good.

Do I feel guilty after my cleanse for getting back into my social media routine?  Not really.  I truly enjoy social media.  But it did make me realize that a break from it every now and then can be a good and necessary thing to recharging your way of thinking and communicating with people when it really counts, like meals and park time with my kids!  One of the best quotes from this show is, “It’s not how many followers you have, it’s how many friends you have.”  It’s easy to get excited by how many thumbs up I got on my Facebook post, but it’s a lot more exciting to see smiles from my friends and kids when I look them in the eyes and not through my iPhone camera.

Be sure to tune into the premiere of “Selfie” on ABC, Tuesday September 30th, at 8pm/7pm central.  I think we will all be cheering for Eliza to find a good balance with her real relationships and her social media relationships!

*Disclosure : This post was sponsored by ABC through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about ABC Selfie, all opinions are honest and my own.* 

September 24, 2014

Fall For These 2 Autumn Lip Looks

It is going to be in the 70's today in Georgia, cue loud shouts of "hooray's" and "wahoo's"!!! These cooler temperatures secure that it is now officially the beginning of fall so it's time to get serious about transitioning out of my summery makeup shades.

In my opinion the easiest way to switch up your look without any real skill or practice, is to bring on a NEW LIP COLOR! And what is more fall-like than shades of orange and maroon?! Here are two current lip products and why they'll get lots of play as I start to wear more layers and boots instead of flip flops.

1st Lip Look :  Deep Maroon Stained Lips
 theBalm "Amanda Kissmylips," $17

I don't usually love lip products that even remotely have a bit of brown in them. But theBalm has surprised me with this Amanda KissMyLips that is a sheer MAROON BROWN with the feel of a hydrating lip balm and rich color.  I like to layer this product and blot with a tissue then layer once again to get a true stained look.  Extra bonus, is that is has a pleasant mild minty after taste that makes your lips tingle ever so slightly!  The warmth and smoothness of this shade makes me feel like a yummy winter coat! 

2nd Lip Look :  Rich Orange High Gloss Lips
L'Oreal Colour Riche Extraordinaire in "Orange Tempo," $9

My second lip look is the complete opposite in that it is high gloss, intense color, and ORANGE!!  Being a University of Georgia fan, I am supposed to have a deep dislike for anything orange (we dawgs do red).  But lately, I've fallen in love with this forbidden shade and find the contrast does my skin some good.  This extraordinaire liquid lipstick formula by L'Oreal is ah-mazing and so full of color and magnified shine that it feels like it makes the surface of my lips look better than ever!  I'm thinking orange is the new black, I mean red, I mean...oh the new classic! Btw, I haven't seen Orange Is The New Black, should I??

What would be your top 2 lip colors for this fall? 

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September 22, 2014

Monday Beauty Mantra

This smile just melts my heart.  I hope Vivian will always realize that she is uniquely beautiful.  These pics are from this past weekend and as you can see she is my girly girl who loves loves to dress up (can you even handle the purple gloves??) but also really likes the idea of wearing her brothers old football jersey for the Georgia game!  As her mom, I try to set by example that it's okay to be and look like whatever you want to, as long as it makes you feel good inside.  I know it's really hard as a young child and even an adult to not compare yourself to others.  We tend to be fed certain ideals of what beauty is in the magazines and on TV.  Shoot, even in beauty blogs like mine!! But I'm hopeful that since I am so aware of this, that I will work even harder to let her know it's ok to appreciate those ideals but to not feel the need to copycat them just to feel pretty.  I want her to put her own spin on everything.

Do I wear too much makeup at times or not dress conservatively enough at my age or as a mom? Maybe.  But makeup and funky clothing make me feel good.  I'm not trying to hide who I am with any of it, I am enhancing and adorning my natural self to feel even more fabulous!  I believe that is the fun of being a girl, to enjoy the simple things like lip gloss and high heels.  However on the flip side, if I were a mom whose personal style was to only wear workout clothes and Chapstick, but that made me feel awesome, I would hope that she would still see that confidence shine through.

Am I guilty of always wanting to pick out her outfits to the last detail? Yes.  Little girls are just so fun to dress! But lately I've learned to let go (a little, baby steps) and let her wear the shoes she wants even if they don't match whatsoever.  She also tends to gravitate towards the same hairdo (a ponytail) and I can't blame her.  She knows what works for her, so who I am to change it up??  It's actually really cool to see her personal style and personality come through as she ages, it's always evolving and such an entertaining ride.  You'd be surprised how opinionated a 4 year old little girl can be when it comes to just about everything!!   Of course this saying should also go for my boys as well, although we'll change it to "I'm not handsome like you, I'm handsome like me!"  Happy Monday everyone.

What makes you feel like your most beautiful you?

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September 19, 2014

theBalm How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek & Lip Cream Palette

I just adore palettes, any sort of palette, eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, etc.  A bunch of colors in one spot, yes please!

So when I received this over the top cute retro packaged How 'Bout Them Apples? Cheek & Lip Palette from theBalm, $32, I couldn't WAIT to tear it open and try it out!  The first thing that struck me was how super thin this palette is.  It's like a flip book with one of the best and clearest large mirrors inside so you can see your entire face! Why do I think this is a big deal?  Have you ever gotten a mirror included in a palette that is so tiny you can only see one feature at a time?? Yeh, aggravating. This thing fits nicely in my purse without taking up a bunch of room.

Here is a looksy of the inside and all of the yummy apple themed shades that truly work on your lips and/or your cheeks!

I do have 2 favorites out of the bunch though, "Crisp" and "Caramel."  Here is a look at both.

First, is "CRISP" which reminds me almost of a cream-like Nar's "Orgasm" shade.  It's more peachy or apricot (than apple-ha!) with a slight golden shimmer to it.  It gives a glowing cheeky look to the skin and looks oh so girly.

Second is "CARAMEL" which looks very brown in the palette but once it's on, it's a beautiful warm neutral nude shade.  It made my lips look like a more healthy version of their original color (with zero shimmer) and these creams are very smooth and balm like. I absolutely LOVE the way all of them feel on the cheeks and lips, with zero stickiness and melt right into your skin.

I am so impressed with these multitasking colors of How 'Bout Them Apples?, $32, that this palette will be front and center in my makeup routine every day.  I got a few more products from this company that I cannot wait to share with you very soon!

Have you ever tried any theBalm products before? 
*These products were sent to me for consideration purposes only.  All opinions and ideas are honest and my own as usual.*

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September 17, 2014

DIY : Little Girl Dress Up Rack For Under $15

If you have a little girl who is over the age of 2 years old, she'll probably reeeally love you if you make her one of these...her very own DRESS UP RACK!! I struggled for a long time with what to do with the plethora of dress up clothes we owned with a very small closet and not wanting to wad up all of these costumes in a bucket or basket.  Plus, like most toys we own, if they're out of sight they're out of mind and NEVER get played with!! I didn't want this to happen with these pretty little costumes I had spent so much money on.

Now I can't take full credit for dreaming up this brilliantly inexpensive idea, I copied it from a girlfriend (thanks Ansley!!). But after seeing hers and how much fun it made it for her little girl and her friends to be able to easily access and see her dress up clothes, I had to recreate it.  Plus I've got a few tips for making it cute enough to be out in plain sight in their bedroom.

Materials Needed:
(chrome would look really cool and shiny but is a bit more $$ just FYI)

And I promise, the garment rack is super easy to put together because putting anything together is never my specialty.  If you get one that says "no tools required" on the box, you're good to go!!  I spray painted my rack after I had put it all together just to make it easy on me and so the paint would help it to slightly stick together.  **Tip - I also left off a couple of the extra tubes that usually make it tall enough for an adult, seeing as though I wanted my toddler to be able to reach it.**

TA-DA!!! The easiest (and cutest!) way to display your child's costumes. Do you have any easy DIY's for kids rooms?

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September 15, 2014

Fade Free Hair Color With Nexxus Color Assure

I have been coloring my hair from home ever since I was in high school.  Of course back then it was just for fun and experimenting purposes.  You know, bright reds and horrible eggplant purples.  But now, I dye it out of necessity because of the dreaded gray hairs popping up and the dullness that come with my 30's...and possibly my 3 children are slightly to blame, hahaha!

And one of my BIGGEST pet peeves about coloring my hair, is how OFTEN I have to touch it up.  Usually about 2.5 to 3 weeks after coloring, those grays start to become obvious again, and the brightness of my fresh color that I experience a week after usually dulls quickly.

So I jumped at the chance to try out this 4 color system from NEXXUS COLOR ASSURE which includes:

  • A pre-wash primer
  • Vibrancy retention shampoo
  • Vibrancy retention conditioner
  • Glossing tonic

 Here is a short background of this system for those of us that are not hair experts...

This system is the first oil-infused color care system by Nexxus that lock color vibrancy in by keeping water out.  This line is sulfate-free and features white orchid extract that works to seal and protect each hair strand, helping to repel water and prevent it from entering the core.  It is formulated with a blend of clear oils - almond, coconut, and argan.  This collection of oils nurtures and helps to keep color treated hair vibrant for 2X longer protection.

^^Showing the pre-wash primer oil on my hand and how it repels water off my skin.  This is the same idea as it keeping water out of the core of your hair strands, which keeps the color in.^^

*I used this system exclusively for 4 weeks and 4 days exactly.  Here is my personal experience*

The pre-wash primer is the real game changer here in keeping your color fresh as the day it was dyed.  However there was a learning process that went on with the pre-wash primer.  After using the suggested 5 pumps on my dry hair before showering the first time, I chose to do 5 pumps and my hair turned out really greasy after washing.  So then I went down to 3, still being greasy, then 1 big one seemed to be the magic number.  I focused on rubbing it in between my hands and evenly pulling it from root to tips.  I wash my hair every 3 days and I don't think I could have used this primer more often than that or it would have stayed slightly oily feeling. 

The shampoo and conditioner smell great - seriously fresh and the white orchid addition really stands out.  I'm a sucker for good smelling hair that isn't extremely powerful and perfume-y, so this was a bonus.  I found I needed very little of the conditioner so as not to add any extra weight to my hair so it didn't feel heavy in addition to the pre-wash primer.   

The glossing tonic was probably my favorite of all the 4 products because I live and die for shiny strands which this delivers!  It is extremely lightweight and was I used it every time on my towel dried wet hair before I blow dried it. 

^^My color 4 weeks and 4 days AFTER original dye job!^^

Overall, I did find that my color stayed longer and faded less than with my usual 2 step shampoo and conditioner.  It wasn't the exact same as the day it was done (as you can tell from my before and after pics) but was significantly better, brighter, and the gray hairs are MUCH less which is a big bonus!  

You can find this Nexxus Color Assure pre-wash primer for $17.99 and the other products mentioned at mass retailers and pharmacies. 

*This is a sponsored post for Nexxus through Conde Nast.  However my experience and opinions of these products are honest and my always!*

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September 12, 2014

Nude Nails

Just got my latest Marie Claire September issue with the crazy gorgeous Blake Lively on the cover.  And I knew after looking through the first half of the magazine, what my next manicure was going to look like...NUDE.  

I ALWAYS wear obnoxious bright colored nail polish, it's my favorite, from hot reds to purples and corals, or even bold blues.  It's my thing.  But after seeing her nude mani on the front (yes, I am a professed copycat) and the ads from Marc Jacobs, Dior, and Chloe, with ALL of the models sporting flesh colored nails, I knew I had to try it.  Contrary to my usual thinking that it's a "boring" shade, I now have a new found appreciation for it and find it to look fresh, clean, and matches everything I wear!!  Not to mention super chic and grown up looking.

And since I had to try this look right then and there, I scoured through my polish bags (I have 2 of them) and found a Revlon shade I've had forever (Revlon Colorstay Trade Winds, $5) but never actually used until now!  Don't you just love discovering a product you bought but haven't used yet?? I do love the way it has turned out and so far, zero chipping.  The good news about nude nails, I bet even when it does chip, it will hardly be as tacky and noticeable as my usual bright polishes are!! Bonus.
Shop the NUDES :

How do you feel about the nude nail look?  Boring or Beautiful?

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September 11, 2014

Never Forget

Image via Huffington Post

"At this moment 13 years ago, millions of Americans went to bed quietly, with no thought that the next morning their world would change forever.  
That night hundreds packed flight bags they would not live to open.  
Thousands slept with loved ones for the last time. 
One never knows what a new day has in store.  Let us live each day to the fullest, and never miss a chance to let those dearest to us know of our love for them.  
So TONIGHT if you have someone in your life that you love, tell them..."
author unknown.

I have a pretty terrible memory when it comes to when historic events happen or what I was doing when they did.  However, even after all of these 13 years since the day of 9/11/01,  I will never forget EXACTLY what I was doing, where I was, and the way I felt (in the car on my way to work, about 2 miles away, when my favorite radio station broke into a song that was playing - I swear it was a Britney Spears one - and informing their listeners about the first plane that had hit, and I was in disbelief).  

Once I got to my place of work, word had already spread and the second tower had been hit.  Unbelievable. People were starting to worry about what and who had done this, and if they had targeted the big city of NYC, were other big cities and buildings going to be next?? I worked in a large building in downtown Atlanta at the time as did my husband, and I was calling him to see what we should do.  We were basically newlyweds and had been married for only 2 months.  My boss immediately suggested we leave and go back home.  So we did. Which honestly, her making me go home scared me.  Then I heard about the Pentagon, when was it going to stop??  It was terrifying to tune into the news on that day and wait on pins and needles to figure out who did this to so many innocent people on those planes and in the buildings that were hit.  

Over the next few days, weeks, and months, footage of the wreckage and stories of loved ones lost due to this malicious attack made me realize something, don't ever miss an opportunity to tell those that mean a lot to you that you love them and are thankful for them.  God bless all of those lost on this day and the heroes that responded so quickly during the aftermath.  We will honor your memory by trying to be better people each and every day and never taking for granted this wonderful place called America.

Do you remember what you were doing on 9/11/01?

September 10, 2014

5 New Ways To Shake Up Your Eye Makeup

I'm all about trying new ways to approach my makeup, especially with my eyes since they're always front and center!  The eyes have endless options of ways to be played up, so I wanted to share with you a few new fun strategies.  Plus how to use a product in your makeup routine that you've probably got in your home or office right now!!

 1. Let your CONCEALER double as an eyelid primer.

  Rub all over lid.

 2.  Use a BROW PENCIL 1 to 2 shades LIGHTER than your natural brow hair.

3. Use a POST IT NOTE as a shadow guideline.

 4. Line your LOWER LASH LINE & fill in your EYE CREASE with an ACCENT COLOR.

5.  Use TWO SHADES OF MASCARA. Black on top and Brown on bottom.

Look Details:

1.  Don't have an eyelid primer, or just don't want to buy one? Let your concealer double as your primer! Not only will it help brighten you eye bed but it will help your shadow stay longer! This Make Up For Ever waterproof camouflage cream has mad staying power. 

2.  Choose a brow product that is 1 to 2 shades lighter for a more youthful look.  Too dark brows can actually look a bit aging.   I used the dark blonde shade of this Femme Couture brow pencil.

3.  Want perfectly placed eyeshadow?  Use a simple post it note to lightly stick to your skin while creating a beautiful straight line and it keeps your shadow from running all over your face! I line up my straight edge from my last lash to my last brow hair.

4.  Instead of the usual upper lash liner, switch things up and just line your lower lash line and fill in your crease with an accent color, like I did with the purple. (I used 2 shades of shimmery taupes from lash to crease just FYI, MAC "all that glitters" and "sable").  My liner in the waterline is Make Up For Ever in Shimmering Plum and the purple shadow along those lower lashes and in the crease is  from the MAC Pro line "Indian Ink"but a similar shade is "Nocturnelle."

5.  Don't like the harshness of black mascara on all of your lashes?  Use two shades of mascara, black on the uppers and brown on the lowers to accentuate instead of keeping them bare. 

There you go - new eye makeup tips, so shake it up, shake it up...*to the tune of "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift, which I currently cannot get out of my head!!!*

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