Saturday, November 30, 2013

$10 off Erin Condren, Link Below

I have a link from Erin, that if you follow and sign up for a free account, they will give you $10 off of your first purchase. If you haven't seen their life planners yet, do yourself a favor and check them out. They are INCREDIBLE. I wish I'd had someone's referral link before I signed up. I could have saved myself some money!

Here's the link:

I Have A Problem...

It's shopping season. And I love to shop. No matter how much I try to hold myself back, I just can't stop shopping. Does it make it okay if I'm shopping for my babies? Maybe? Kind of? Sigh.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Five Things Friday 11-29-13

In my mind, once we've cooked and eaten Thanksgiving Dinner, it's officially winter. Sort of like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. We start with the turkey and end with Santa. Not much to say for this past week. I'm sure it was the same chaos-adled, tryptophan fueled crazy holiday week for everyone. I hope you were able to spend it with family and were able to remember everything you're thankful for. There's a quote I can't attribute because I can't remember where I heard it, but it's so appropos right now ..."When you're grateful for all that you have, you've got all that you need."

Five Favorite Things from Thanksgiving

1. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Nothing makes me feel more like a kid or more grateful for the magic of the holiday season than watching forty-foot blimps of my kids' favorite cartoon characters glide down Sixth Avenue. My favorite this year? My boys LOVED the SpongeBob Square Pants. My favorite float was probably Santa and Mrs. Santa at the end.

2. Father Sarducci's Homemade Cheese Cake
This is the best recipe for cheesecake I've ever seen or eaten. My mother-in-law makes it, and so does my husband. He mixes up fresh caramel and nuts to go on top and consider my diet busted. Even if I can resist seconds of the turkey, this cheesecake is like the siren song to my taste buds and gets me every time.

3. Tryptophan Football

There were three football games on yesterday. And there is something soothing on a deep subconscious level about laying back in a Lazy-Boy with a belly full of turkey and dozing in and out of slumber with the sounds of a riotous crowd in the background and sports announcers too eager to say weird things like, "He raced up the back side!" or "He took him from behind!" And can we pause for just a second to remind ourselves of the horror of yesterday's most important game - Lions 40: Packers 10. WTF?!

4. A Hike in the Woods
Knowing that I'm going to have to hike in the woods with the boys after dinner helps me keep my turkey consumption to a "don't eat so much they have to roll up up the trail" level. It's a tradition for us now, and one I thoroughly enjoy. We're fortunate enough to live next to an expansive national forest, so we can literally walk for miles.

5. Getting to Decorate for Christmas
We can officially start decorating for Christmas, guilt free. Although, just between us, we unpacked the first box of decorations a week ago. ;)

Five Favorite Beauty Products

1. OPI 3-in-1 Base Coat, Top Coat & Strengthener
I have tried a lot of base coats. I go through them like pudding. This is my current favorite. I have had a lot less chipping and breakage on my nails since I tried this stuff. My nails are usually quite thin and brittle, so less breakage is always a win in my book.

2. CHI Keratin & Silk Infusion
So this is a Keratin and Silk infusion that you put on your hair after you've showered. I've been on an intensive healthy-hair program for months now and am always eager to try anything I think might make my hair healthier/stronger/more beautiful. This retails for about $14 from Walgreens, FYI. So when Ulta came out with sample bottles for $2, I jumped on it. The first few times that I tried this in my hair, my hair was noticeably soft and shiny. But that wasn't unusual. So I couldn't say for sure that it was doing much. Let's just say there was not an instant WOW factor. Then one day I paired it with my next favorite thing, Fekkai's PrX Reparatives Conditioner and finally got my WOW factor. Not only was my hair soft and shiny, but it was strong and resilient. A win in my book.

3. Fekkai's PrX Reparatives Conditioner
I have used this conditioner on its own before, and I've always really liked it. My hair is soft and smells amazing after I use it. Then I paired it with the CHI Keratin & Silk Infusion and suddenly my hair was another echelon above its usual as far as health, strength and shine are concerned. I think I've struck gold with this combination.

4. Bombshell Lip Crayon in Shameless
This lip crayon came in one of my Ipsy bag's, and I was only 'meh' about it. It seemed to me more like a Smoochie-caliber lip product (lip balm with sheer color). Not a lot of pigmentation or longevity. But the more I use it, the more I like it. It's less like Smoochies and more like a lipstick in the color pigmentation and how long it wears. I keep it in my pocket, and this past week I've worn it almost daily. It's just the perfect color for this time of year, I'm enjoying how it feels on my lips, I haven't had a lipstick-on-teeth situation with it yet and it's super easy to use (no mirror required). 

5. Stila Portrait of A Perfect Cheek Palette
When I first saw a picture of this palette on Ulta, it was love at first sight. I've had a wicked fascination with blush lately, despite the trend for winter to be minimal in that area. What can I say? I'm a rebel. So I ordered this palette the first time I saw it. When it came, I was disappointed. The pots are small, the same size as a pan of eyeshadow. How would my brush fit in the pan? How long could this last? It was truly a sad moment for me. I decided to try the blush out anyways.  There is one color, second up from the bottom in the picture above, that I thought I would never use. It's a very glittery-taupe color. So I tried it first. Remember that whole, "I'm a rebel!" part? Yeah. So I dabbed in my blush brush and put it on and literally said, "Wow." Good pigmentation, the color adjusted for my tone in an unexpected way and suddenly I was happier. I've since used every color in the palette and feel the same way about each. Good pigmentation, a little goes a long way and now I have a palette for every look I can muster.

Bonus Level: Daily Look Style Sets  If you haven't discovered Daily Look yet, now you know. They have a feature on their site, the button is top left, called "Style Sets". You literally get to pick and match clothes, accessories, shoes ...whatever you want, and create your own fashion plates with them. They've got templates or you can design your own. While you're limited to what clothing and accessory items they have in their store, I still spend hours and hours making my own looks. Literally, I've done it so much lately, I've started dreaming about pairing accessories. Is that such a bad thing? ;)

That's it for me this week. I hope you're all smiling about something. Thank you for your time, have a happy holiday weekend, and stay beYOUtiful!

- Becky xoxox

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Daily Look Set: Cultured & Classy

Daily Look Set: Boho Western

Daily Look Set (My First!): Street Chic in Neutrals

Tip Tuesday: Invest in the Best Tools for Success (Then Learn How to Use Them)

There is a magic trifecta in applying good makeup. Tools and product quality are equally as important as the makeup application skills you have. For example, if you are using mediocre brushes, mediocre products, and have average skill ...just by improving the quality of your brushes and using more richly pigmented products, the application will immediately be better, even without improving your technique. 

If you really want to apply your makeup like a pro, do what the professionals do: Use the best brushes you can afford for application.

Here are the eight basic brushes you need:
1. Foundation brush
2. Concealer brush
3. Fluffy powder brush
4. Blush brush
5. Small blending brush
6. Flat eyeshadow brush
7. Precision angle brush
8. Lip brush

Once you have your tools, learn the correct way to use them. 

Where you hold a brush on the handle affects your control. The closer your fingers are to the ferrule (the silver section beneath the brush head), the more pressure you put on the brush head and the more opaque your application is going to be.  

As a rule - if you want to apply color evenly, place your fingers on the center of the brush handle. 

One last tip: You can easily turn a fluffy brush into a flat, angled brush by squeezing the bristles on your brush and flattening them.

I hope you learned something new. Thank you for your time and stay beYoutiful!

- Becky xoxox

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mani Monday: French Manicure, Classy in Golds 11-24-13

This look was hard to photograph but looks amazing in person. I used a shimmery rose gold base from Nailtini in 'Champagne' for the nail. Then I went in with "The Next CEO" from OPI for the tips. 'The Next CEO' is a beautiful honey-colored shimmery gold. The effect was subtle, very wearable for every day (even for the more refined women), but when noticed was mind-blowing. I will definitely be wearing this again. Probably at Christmas.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Notes From Today's Nutritional Lessons

Today started Week 2 of the health program I'm enrolled in. I wanted to record some of the notes I took while reading the lesson here so I could find them again easily. And of course, I'm hoping you may learn something new and be inspired as well. 

~ Don’t consume sugar without fiber. Doing so sends the sugar straight into your bloodstream. Fiber is the antidote to the sugar and slows your bodie's absorption of the sugar. Super important!

~ There are three macronutrients in calories - fat, protein & carbs. In one gram of protein and carbs there are 4 calories. And in one gram of fat there’s 9 calories. That’s twice as much!

~ Caloric density - some foods have a high caloric density. That’s a lot of calories in a little bit of food. Think cheesecake. In order to fill your stomach you'd have to eat enough cheesecake to surpass your daily caloric requirements. You want to eat foods that have a low caloric density - lot of food with little calories. Like spinach and lettuce.

~ A quick guide to determine whether a food item is low or high in a particular nutrient: Scan the nutritional label and look at the information in the "% Daily Value" section. Anything reading 5 percent and below is low, while 20 percent and above is high. When it comes to fat, cholesterol, and sodium, aim for low!

~ Make sure you’re considering serving sizes when reading the nutrition facts on a label. For example, bread serving sizes are often listed as one slice. But sandwiches take two slices, so you really have to double the facts given. A lot of food can be deceiving with the nutritioal facts provided because the serving size isn’t always the same as the average portion size a person would consume.

~ Nutrition labels contain a lot of information, but when you’re in a hurry, you can make a fairly good decision by looking at just fat and fiber. Avoid foods that are high in fat, because you get less food for more calories. Aim for at least 5 grams of dietary fiber per serving when buying foods. Aim for about 30 grams total of dietary fiber each day.

~ Trans fat increases risk of coronary disease because it has the bad kind of cholesterol.

~ Beware packaging gimmicks that say “heart healthy” or “made with real fruit” or similar things. These are typically gimmicks. For example, the term “all natural” has no legal definition when it comes to packaged foods - anyone can say it! A so-called “healthy cereal” may say it’s “98% fat free” but still have 15 grams of sugar or carbs and almost no fiber in it. Rely on the nutritional label and ingredients list instead of gimmicks on the box to decide what’s best to buy.

~ A good way to visualize calories when making food choices: consider how much fat is in the food you're about to eat. A McDonald's Big Mac has about 30 grams of fat in it. Well, a teaspoon of Crisco contains 4 grams of fat, so this means that a Big Mac contains the equivalent fat of almost eight spoonfuls of Crisco! For comparison, a regular glazed doughnut would have about three spoonfuls of Crisco, and large fries would pack over six spoonfuls. Next time you crave something like a Big Mac, chew on this--do you really want to put eight whole teaspoons of Crisco into your body?

Sugar content can also paint a vivid picture. For quick reference, simply remember that there are 4 grams of sugar in one sugar cube. That 20-oz. bottle of Coke in the vending machine has 65 grams of sugar, which is like eating over 16 sugar cubes! Even more surprising, one 16-oz. bottle of Odwalla Superfood fruit juice has 50 grams of sugar. That totals nearly 14 sugar cubes, and, because all the fruit has been liquefied and stripped of fiber, the sugar content will hit your bloodstream quickly.

~ Once you take time to think about what drives you toward health, stop to surround yourself with that motivation before change begins and before challenges arise. At home, write your motivations down and tape them to the refrigerator, front door, or bathroom mirror.

MY MOTIVATION FOR GETTING HEALTHY - I want to wear clothes that are beautiful and tailored. I want my skin and my hair and my looks to reflect the joy I feel inside. I want to make my husband proud to walk into a room with me on his arm. I want my body to stop hurting and my heart to be strong. I want to teach my daughter how to stand tall and proud in life and to not let things like her weight to keep her from living to the fullest. And I've earned this. I've spent years caring for everyone else and just slathering myself with sugars and fats just to get by. I want it over. I want to be human again. I want to know what a size 6 dress feels like. I want to wear a bikini on the beach in Bora Bora. I want to blow minds with the whole beautiful person that I am, inside and out.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Five Things Friday 11-22-13

I have spent all morning watching a 24-hour music video and dancing all around the house. I can't stop smiling, and I love it!  So this week? Snow, mommy groups, volunteering at the kiddos classrooms, and Christmas shopping. Overall - a great week. When our daughter was born we had a bunch of people give us little girls clothes. So I haven't had to shop for clothes from her since she was born. Today? I bought her a bunch of super adorable outfits. It's a beautiful feeling, I'm grinning from ear to ear. I hope that everyone out there reading this is smiling to, because it feels so good.  This week was also the first week of my health-program. While I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be doing right now other than weighing myself and writing down what I eat, but I'm still super excited that we've finally gotten started. Bring on the healthier new me! So now for our favorite part, my five favorite things from this week.

1. Chai Spice Tea from Stash
I am a tea junkie, through and through. Sometimes I like a little something different than just the English breakfast teas I drink. I thought a spicy chai tea would be perfect for this time of year. Normally I'd buy a Tazo tea, but the Stash brand tea was sitting right next to it on the shelf and was half the price. So I figured, why not? I love this stuff. It's delicious and not bitter at all. I stir in a teaspoon or two of sugar and top it off with a splash of milk. All week I've had a cup of tea in my hands almost constantly.

2. Freeman's Cucumber Peel Face Mask
This face mask was in my grocery store next to the body sprays, and on sale. I love a peel-off mask. They always feels so cleansing. I love this mask because it doesn't dry me out, gets a lot of gunk off of my face and is just plain old fun. The best part? I think I paid $4 for the bottle.

3. Raw Honey
I posted a few weeks ago that I was learning about using raw honey as a face wash and had ordered some. Well, this is the brand that I ordered (from Amazon) and have been using. And I love it! At first I was worried that it would break me out, but that hasn't happened. My skin feels hydrated and calm, almost like the honey is helping to repair the acid mantle on my skin. I haven't had any new breakouts, and my rosacea looks almost non-existent right now. I'm loving the feeling this leaves my skin with and will continue to use it. It's hard to explain what that feels like. Not sticky, not oily ...just soft and ...healthy? I'm honestly not trying to silly. It's just hard to explain. Raw honey is unlike any face wash I've used before. Sometimes I'll blend in the WEN polmegranate exfoliating powder to really scrub the pours. It's a great combination because the viscosity of the honey keeps the powder from irritating my face. I will definitely continue using this stuff for my face. And as a bonus? My kiddos love to eat it!

4. Bodycology Body Spray

What can I say? I love a good body spray. Last weekend we went shopping and I picked up the Sweet Love and Blackberry Vanilla sprays from Bodycology. I prefer the smell of Sweet Love, but it doesn't last as long as the Blackberry Vanilla. Every time I use the restroom, after my shower, or before I go to bed, I reach for one or both of these sprays. I just love them! (And I'm not spending a fortune on expensive perfumes constantly.)

5. Bee Kind Body Lotion
This was a sample I received in this month's Birchbox. For a more in-depth review, you can check out my review of the box from earlier. I will say that my cuticles haven't split, not even once, since I started using this stuff every night before bed. In the winter months, when the air is so dry, honey is the best remedy. I love this lotion, the texture, the smell, and especially what it does for my always-dry-and-cracked hands. 

I hope you found a few things to try and love. Thank you for your time, stay beYOUtiful, and have a stellar week this coming week!

- Becky xoxox

24 Hours of Happy - Pharrel

It's the world's first 24-hour long music video. The video is 4-minute long segments with different people dancing down the streets of LA. Every person is different, so are their dancing styles. I've been watching it for hours and smiling all day. Want to be happy? Watch this video. It's awesome.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Winter Makeup Trends in 3 Looks

While fall was all gold accents, plum lips and winged eyeliner... winter is going to be something more fabulous. I've put together a few snapshots of what sort of seasonal looks we'll see everywhere in the very near future. After all, Christmas is almost a month away and winter is as good as here!

Look #1 - Metallics and Illuminating Powders

We see LipstickOnYourPillow has kept the plum lips of fall and paired it with bright metallics on the eyelid, and a shimmer on the cheek. Bright metallics has been the thing to do recently, and every winter we see the same trend. It's also no coincidence that we're coming into winter and the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders are flying off the shelves. The average lady probably won't rock quite as dewy of a look as LoYP did above, but that lit-from-within glow makes everyone look sexy.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders

Look #2 - Super Natural

I think the next trend this winter will be a super natural look. Full brows, minimal blush or bronzer where the blush usually goes, and a frosty nude lip (paired with illuminating powders or highlighters). We all lament the passing of summer, and even in the throws of frigid winter I think we'll see a lot of no-makeup or super-natural makeup looks around.

Look #3 - Vibrant & Quirky

Come the holidays, every woman with an inner diva has to rock a red lip. I'll be looking for more orange/red-toned red lips instead of the cooler berry-toned or deep plummy looks of fall. I think we'll see a lot of color blocking with reds and blues or silvers on the face and not much between. It's fun, it's festive and it's unexpected. What more could a beauty ask for?

I hope everyone out there has a bright and beautiful holiday season. Thank you for your time, and stay beYOUtiful! 

- Becky xoxox

Mani Monday: "Christmas Cheer" 11-18-13

I wanted to do a manicure this week that was festive and cheerful. Even though it's not even Thanksgiving yet, I've been feeling the urge to bust out my Christmas lights and put Santas everywhere. For the thumb and pinky nail I use Eileen (white) from Julep as a base and used a bright red from OPI for the candy cane stripes. I just used a thin paint brush to paint on the stripes. For my pointer and ring fingers I used a navy blue from OPI as the base and a silver striper from KISS to paint on snow flakes. And for my middle finger I used Eileen (white) from Julep as the base. I used a black striper to paint the power cord and a variety of fun colors to dot in the Christmas lights. I'm loving this look, my husband and kids love this look. Definitely one I'll be doing again for the holidays.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

LoTD: Bronze & Cocoa Bear

Today I was looking for something warm and wearable. I came up with a bronze lid and a warm brown transition with burgandy accents in the outer corner and the crease. On the bottom lid I used the warm brown and for the highlights in the middle of the lid, the inner corner and under the brow I used a very light golden shimmer. I threw on a pair of KISS false lashes in 03. My foundation was the Guerlain Lingerie de Peu and I used Pixi's bronzer in suntouched as a blush. The lips were just a nude gloss. Very beautiful and wearable look. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

IPSY: November 2013

Another great month for IPSY and my subscription. I am continually finding my next favorite thing because of their service. This month I was extra excited to see a full-sized Em product from Michelle Phan's new line in my bag as well as a coupon code for 30% off my next full-sized purchase. I received her Lash Gallery Mascara. They sent me the brown version of the mascara. At first I was a little puzzled, I never wear brown mascara. However, I have blue eyes. So a brown mascara could really make them pop. I also just invested a small fortune in Makeup Geek eyeshadows in every neutral shade they make. So I'll be dreaming up some beautiful winter looks using this mascara. In total, including the bag, I received seven items from IPSY this month. And not a stinker in the bunch. Read on to learn more.

This Month's IPSY Bag
The bag this month is a very glamorous and shiny gold metallic bag with hot pink accents. For winter, and for that Hollywood diva that lives deep in my soul, I am madly loving this bag. While it's not the same thickness as a hide or fabric bag, it feels sturdy enough to carry my beauty treasures for at least a few months until spring.

Em Michelle Phan Lash Gallery Mascara in Brown
What sorcery is this?! Let's start by saying that this mascara smells like roses. I kid you not, roses, I don't have to curl my lashes when I put this stuff on, and they've got that perfect lift afterward. I can't begin to guess how they pull that one off. The formula is liquidy and goes on smooth. It gives good length (dirty girl!), and dries quickly so I can add more coats. Even after a few coats, however, it doesn't add much volume. Did I mention it smells like roses? I'm totally serious. Roses. I love the wand as well. It's not too thick and has a subtle arc and the bristles are plastic (I believe) for an even coat. I have had zero clumping. I'm going to guess it's one of those mascaras that just improves with age as it dries a little. The brown is still dark enough to give impact. But light enough to give a casual neutral healthy look without adding anything. Not sure what else to say. I was skeptical when I first got this stuff, the reviews on the Em line were mixed. I have a lipstick palette from them that's only so-so. But this mascara is decent. I tend to go for more volumizing formulas and won't purchase this again. It also stung my eyes a little the first time I used it. So take it for what it is. 

Be A Bombshell Lip Crayon in Shameless
This lip crayon was very similar in texture, longevity and pigmentation to a Covergirl Smoochies Lip Balm. In fact, the shade "shameless" is very similar to the smoochies shade #textme, only a little cooler toned. I love these types of products for those days full of errands or casual engagements when a lipstick is too much maintenance but I want to rock a colored lip. 

Nailtini Nail Laquer in Rose Gold
'Tis the season for rose gold - everything. It's definitely the "in" color right now. The funny thing is that this shade is identical to a shade from Revlon that I wore on my nails for my wedding. My dress was cream colored with rose gold accents. It took two coats, but this polish wore nicely. I'm going to try it with a gold polish from OPI called "The Next CEO" for some nail art in the next few days. I'm sure it will hold up well.

Pixi Beauty Bronzer
This bronzer is a lot cooler in tone in real life than it is in this picture. It's the perfect shade for fall, and in my opinion a better blush than bronzer. It's not hugely pigmented, but instead gives a very subtle and fresh color-kissed look to the cheeks. I love this shade and plan on wearing the hell out of it before spring comes.

Starlooks Gem Eye Pencil
Oooh, sparkly! When the snow falls, so do the metallic beauty products. I love this color when it's swatched on my wrist. It's like liquid mercury. On my eye it's a lot more subtle, brightening and very beautiful. I mixed it up with a bronzey/warm metallic look by lining my upper and lower water line on the first inner third of my eye with this liner. It is stunning. I can't wait to use it with a black smokey eye.

BH Cosmetics Galaxy Chic Baked Eyeshadow in Asteroid
I have seen and heard of BH Cosmetics eyeshadows before, but never had the pleasure of actually trying one. So when I opened the box and saw Asteroid, my jaw hit the floor. I couldn't begin to guess what it would look like on. I swatched it and smiled from ear to ear. It's a metallic and very bright lilac color. I lay it on top of my burgandy and cranberry shadows for my fall looks and it just sings. I can't imagine a skin tone or makeup look that this couldn't bring to the next level of beautiful. I've got a coupon code for the BH Galaxy Chic Palette that I'll be absolutely taking advantage of. Love this baked eyeshadow!