Friday, December 19, 2014

3 Simple Holiday Hairstyles

Simple Holiday Hair

Hi there friends! Christmas is only a week away and I feel likes I've neglected some of the holiday-themed posts I could have done.  Well, hopefully today's post will make up for it, a little.

I have three simple hairstyles that are perfect for any of your holiday events or gatherings you have left this season.  Really, they are good for any dang time of the year, but I tried to go for looks that were a little more classic and timeless, which is what I usually associate with Christmas/Holiday time.

Also, these are very simple.  I'm certainly no hair guru by any means.  If I can do these, you can do these. Repeat after me, "I am a strong, independent woman, and I can create these hairstyles."

Good.

Alright, enough fluff, let's get to the looks. 

formal bun

The first look I created is this classic, sophisticated low bun.  I think this is just the most chic looking up-do that you could pair with any party dress or cozy sweater alike.

To create this look you'll need a bun maker, hair tie and some bobby pins.  You simply pull your hair into a low side pony tail and use the bun maker to create a voluminous, well proportioned bun.  Then you secure the whole thing with bobby pins.  It's crazy easy and takes less than 5 minutes.

To see the step-by-step tutorial, fast forward to 00:00 in the video below.

pull through braid

Meet the pull-through braid.  It's like the regular braid but it says, "I'm fun and classy" (as opposed to the regular side braid which says, "I'm either on my way to soccer practice or I'm hungover.")

To create the pull-through braid you need a handful of polybands in a color close to your natural hair color.  The pull through braid is SUPER simple, but trying to explain it in words...not so much.  Speed up to 00:00 in the video to quickly see how simple this braid is.


The perfect, classic curls.  Not too tight, not too small, just big, sleek and timeless.

You'll want a larger barreled curling wand or iron to create these curls along with some bobby pins.  Taking 1 to 1-1/2 inch sections curl the hair around the barrel TOWARDS your face.  After letting the hair heat up, drop the curl into your hand and pin in place.  Allow the curls to completely cool in the pins before releasing them.  This will ensure the curl lasts throughout the day (or night).


Thanks for stopping by! Let me know which 'do was your favorite!
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

3 Perfect New Year's Eve Looks

Oh goodness, friends! New Year's Eve is only 2 weeks away.  *panics*

Yah, that's right. We've been so busy scurrying around being good little Christmas elves that the end of 2014 has just snuck right up on us!  I don't always do something special for New Year's Eve, some years are just spent snuggled up inside and asleep before midnight strikes.  But this year I am hoping to head into the city to have a fun night with a girlfriend and I am quite smitten with the idea.  I mean, it combines some of my favorite things: New York + getting dressed up + obligatory champagne + confetti. 

I still have no idea on what I'll be sporting on the night, but I thought I'd share some outfit inspiration with you all (plus I have an awesome New Year's Eve worthy giveaway to get you New Year's Eve ready!)  

I paired each of my looks with a Covergirl Colorlicious Lipstick color that helps bring the entire look together.  I mean, in the spirit of the holiday that's supposed to end with a kiss, we shouldn't neglect our lips! You might remember I featured one of these Covergirl lipsticks in my Holiday Party Makeup look.  I love them because they are rich in color but also infused with Shea butter so they are not drying throughout the night. Oh, and they come in 36 shades so there's literally one for everyone. They are available for less than $6 at your local Walmart. The website only has nine of the colors on display, but in store they have all the colors. 

Additionally, I chose a bunch of pieces from RentTheRunway.com.  If you're not privy,  RentTheRunway.com has tons of designer dresses and accessories available for renting.  I love this because for special events we want something stand-out worthy, and not usually something we plan to wear again anytime soon.  So, for less than buying a new dress, you can rent a designer one for a fraction of the price.  

Ok, onto the looks!

Shoshanna ' Night Sailing Dress' (rent it from Rent the Runway)  //  BaubleBar Gumdrop Strand Necklace  //  BCBGeneration Enees Pump  //  Franchi Haven Satin Clutch (rent it from Rent the Runway) //  Covergirl Colorliscious Verve Violet 

Milly 'Take Flight Dress' (rent it from Rent the Runway) //  Kate Spade Salt & Pepper Clutch  (rent it from Rent the Runway) //  Steve Madden Rascaal Pump  // Covergirl Colorlicious Ravishing Rose  //  Essie Nail Polish 'Jazzy Jubilant' 

Camilla and Marc 'Clean Cut Jumpsuit'  //  Anne Michelle Pump  // Courtney Bib Necklace  // Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac  // Essie Nail Polish 'Jingle Hi Jingle Low'  //  Covergirl Colorliscious 'Hot'
These are my three outfit inspirations. I'll likely go for something more in the "fun" department for my plans - and maybe a little more casual. 
 What are you planning to do/wear for New Year's Eve this Year? 

Whatever you plan to wear, I'm here to help you out! I'm giving away a $50 Rent the Runway gift card and a Covergirl Colorlicious Lipstick of your choice to get you New Year's Eve Ready!  Use the widget below to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Open to US Residents Only.
Giveaway closes on December 20th at Midnight.

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G. #KissedbyCOVERGIRL
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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Everyday Eyebrow Routine


Hola my friends. It's Tuesday. We're getting there. Baby steps.

Today I wanted to share my step-by-step tutorial for my everyday eyebrow routine.

I already have fairly thick lashes, so I'm quite lucky in that department.  Because of this my routine is mostly about shaping and perfecting my brow.

Even still, eyebrows are almost ALWAYS a must do for me. If I could only have 3 products on my face it'd probably be under eye concealer, mascara and a brow pencil.  I think by simply giving them a little extra attention it can really perk up my entire face.

eyebrow-makeup

Lately I've been using this Billion Dollar Brows Best Sellers Kit* which is $34.99 for their four most popular products (a $68 value.)  This is the perfect little set for any beauty lover on your gift list this holiday season, as well. Just sayin'

I will still use my Maybelline Brow Drama on days I'm in a rush OR if I want to darken up my brow look a little for a more dramatic look.  I also reach to my Milani Brow Wax for days my hairs won't cooperate (usually when I haven't groomed them recently.)

Alright, let's jump into this.  I know it seems like a lot of steps, but it honestly takes me less than 2 minutes.

eyebrow-makeup

First things first I'm the realest -- I mean, I brush through my brows with a spoolie to get all the hair laying the way they will when finished. I also check for stragglers. Using tweezers I will pluck any pesky little hairs than popped up unexpectedly. I don't do this everyday, but maybe 1 or two times a week. 

eyebrow-makeup

Using the BDB Brow Pencil, I draw in a line along the bottom of my brow. The bottom of your brow is where your brow is often naturally darkest, and this helps give the brow shape and definition. The BDB Brow Pencil only comes in one color. Say WHAT?! It's true. I was a little skeptical at first, "how could one color work for us all?" Well, somehow this color is perfect for me. Not too dark, not too light, not too warm toned. It must be magic.

eyebrow-makeup-tutorial

Using the spoolie, I soften the line by brushing in small upward strokes.

eyebrow-makeup-tutorial

Going back in with the pencil I fill in any gaps in my hairs. I use short small strokes to resemble actual brow hairs. 

For reference (see picture on left) you want your brows to start about where a line would be if you drew it from where the nostrils of your nose end upward.  And ideally, the arch of your brow is best suited if you take a straight line from the middle of your nose directly across your pupil (when looking straight forward), where that line hits is where your brow should arch.

eyebrow-makeup-tutorial

Smooth this out with the smudge brush. I like using this for the top of my brows because you can soften with a more precise hand than if you were using the spoolie. I use short brush strokes to smudge the pencil and smooth the look. Then I use a longer sweeping motion along the very top of my brow to define. 

eyebrow-makeup-tutorial

Keep dem brows in place! I use the BDB brow gel to set everything in place.  And, as mentioned, the Milani Brow Wax if they are being particularly fussy.

eyebrow-makeup-tutorial

Highlight. This highlighting side of the BDB Duo Stick is my new BFF. Swipe a little on your brow bone, just under your eyebrow, and smudge. It makes that brow bone pop and makes the brow look more defined.

That does it! For a chance to win the Billion Dollar Brow Best Seller's Kit and give yourself the gift of beautiful brows this holiday, use the widget below or click here.

I hope you found this post helpful/useful!  Let me know what your favorite brow products are in the comments!

Also, I told you the three beauty products I would choose if I could only have three.  If you could only have three, which three would you pick?!


This post was sponsored by BrandBacker.  All thoughts, words, opinions and images are my own.
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#billiondollarbrows #holidaygift #stockingstuff #giftguide #holidaybeauty
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Monday, December 15, 2014

The Little Black Trench Coat

Oasap glamorous trench


Oasap glamorous trench
Kate Spade Beacon Court Angelica
Oasap glamorous trench
Kate Spade Beacon Court Angelica
Jacket  //  *Oasap Double Breasted Trench 
Blouse  //  *Oasap Floral High-Low Blouse 
Pants // *Vigoss Black Coated Jeans
Boots  //  *Unisa Gillean Over-the-Knee Boots
Necklace  // Forever 21 Chain-Tassel Necklace
Purse  //  Kate Spade Beacon Court Angelica
Nails  //  Essie "Snap Happy"
I'll stop wearing black when they invent a darker color.  The other day one of one students asked what my favorite color was and I actually told her black, (and then regretted it a little when I saw the look of disappointment, and little worry, on her face). I'm not sorry that it's classic, timeless and matches everything. 
I'd been looking for the perfect trench for a little while now and am totally smitten with my new one from Oasap.  I flipped flopped between getting black and khaki, but ultimately I picked my staple color. I love this trench because the shape is so flattering when it's open or closed and I love the buckle details on the sleeves and pleats on the back.  Oh, and did I mention it only costs $55? Yah, you're welcome.
Alright then, what's your favorite color? I need some ideas next time a student asks.
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I was not compensated for this post. All products are purchased with my own money unless marked with an asterisk (*). An asterisk signifies a product that was sent to me as a gift or for review.
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Everyday Grace

Happy Saturday, friends.  I want to briefly introduce you to the beautiful Kristen from The Everyday Grace.  Make sure to stop over to her blog and say "hi," and check out her delicious and healthy (WINNING) recipe.


1. Quickly introduce yourself and your blog:
My name is Kristen and I blog over at TheEverydayGrace.com! I started my blog way back in college but it has slowly evolved into a blog that ventures into my life, love, wedding planning and all kinds of food. Recently I've found a love for cooking (especially paleo recipes) and I love sharing my adventures and mishaps in cooking with my readers!

2. You know I gotta ask, how do you take your coffee?
Grande skinny vanilla latte. Or an espresso with raw sugar. Or straight out of my Keurig. I love coffee pretty much any way!


3. All your amazing paleo recipes look delicious! What advice can you give to someone trying to start a healthier diet?
Take it one day at a time. Starting a new way of eating/living can be so daunting, trust me, I've started "diets" more times than I can count, only to stop 3 days later because I was starving! Do you research, cook what you like to eat and be prepared to have cheat meals, it's the only thing that will keep you sane! And don't be too hard on yourself. I have a motto, I eat healthy 80% at 100mph. When I'm eating healthy, I do it full fledged, but it's the holidays and having a cookie (or 3) here and there isn't going to totally ruin your diet :) Oh, and if you run out of ideas on what to cook, head over to Everyday Grace for tons of delicious recipes! (shameless plug, I know)

4. Alright, let's get serious, if could ride any animal and not get hurt, which animal would you ride? (yes, you can shrink of grow depending on the animal)
A dolphin. I love the ocean and being able to live it in would be so rad. Plus, they're beautiful, they get free range of the ocean and they seem like they're always having fun.

5. Five things you can't live without:
Do people count...? No? Okay, these are just 5 things I can't live without, in no particular order :) (1) Chapstick (2) My cell phone (3) My Bible (4) My kindle (5) A good blanket
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I was not compensated for this post. All products are purchased with my own money unless marked with an asterisk (*). An asterisk signifies a product that was sent to me as a gift or for review.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Battle of the Drugstore Cream Eyeshadows: Round One


It's time for another Battle of the Drugstore Beauty Products!

If you're new to the game, this where I pick up 5 of the same kind of product from the drugstore in varying brands and prices, try them out for a week or two. Then, I come to you with my findings, show you the products and their results, and decide who is the winner.

Today we're going to battle out cream eyeshadows.  These types of of product comparisons are easiest in video form, so that's what I got for you. But, since I know many of you prefer reading to watching, I've got it all written down, too!


Maybelline Color Tattoo $8
This cream shadow keeps coming out in a variety of versions including a metallic range, a leather range, a loose pigment version and a dare to go nude range. I have the color Barely Branded from the metallic range.  The color pigmentation on these is awesome, there is no denying that. There is great color payoff in a creamy, blendable formula. The shadow sets after about 5 minutes and then doesn't budge from your eye until you wash it off. It's smudge-proof and waterproof. Overall, I think these are a great quality line of cream shadows with tons of color options.

Rimmel London ScandalEyes Eyeshadow Crayon $5
These come in about 9 colors, I have the color Witness White. The product comes in a pencil that does need to be sharpened (although trying to sharpen this product is next to impossible.) The formula is very creamy and pigmented and covers in a single stroke, making application crazy easy. The formula also blends nicely and stays put quite well, however the shimmer in the color does tend to spread a little, making it a little messy.

Covergirl Flamed Eyeshadow Pencil $6
These come in 13 different colors and are a smaller pencil that also needs to be sharpened. I have the color Primrose Flame. This product gets a more subtle wash of color, which for me isn't really what a want in a cream shadow, but may be for some people. The formula is quite blendable but it doesn't ever fully set, so it does move around on your eyelid a little. Additionally, the color fades after about 5 hours.

Nuetragena Crease Proof Eyeshadow Stick $8
These sticks come in about 6 colors and have a built-in primer designed to help the product stay. I have the color Taupe. The stick shape is also twistable so you don't have to worry about sharpening (yay!) It applies easily and the color payoff is great. It sets to a highly pigmented powdery finish. The color lasts intensely all day long. I can apply this product and it literally will NOT MOVE from my eyelid all day and night. Additionally, it's waterproof. Overall, an awesome cream shadow.

Wet and Wild Idol Eyes Cream Shadow Pencil $2
These pencils come in about 6 different colors. The initial color payoff on these is actually really bold and nice. It is also very creamy and blends quite nicely. However, this product lacks staying power and just kind of slides around and fades away after 3-4 hours leaving you with just a faint memory of what it looked like on your lid.

So, The Winner? I choose Maybelline and Neutrogena.  They both have awesome pigmentation with crazy impressive staying power, including being waterproof.

Want to win the winner of this battle? Starting from today's Battle of the Drugstore Battle on I'll be giving one person the winning product, in this case Neutrogena Crease Proof Shadow Stick OR Maybelline Color Tattoo, in their color choice.  All you need to do is be following me on GFC or on Bloglovin (links in the sidebar) and leave me a comment on this post - include "ENTER ME" somewhere in the text. That's it! Giveaway is open for 2 weeks. Open internationally, pending shipping restrictions.

If you want to see any past Battle of the Drugstore Beauty products, check out the entire playlist here.


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I was not compensated for this post. All products are purchased with my own money unless marked with an asterisk (*). An asterisk signifies a product that was sent to me as a gift or for review.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How to Make an Old Fashioned




When I think of Christmas/Holidays, I think of traditions that have continued on for decades and decades. Because of this, I find myself wanting to indulge in classic cocktails that, like the holidays, never go out of style.

With that said, today we're going to be mixing up an Old Fashioned.  And Old Fashioned is not only a classic cocktail, it's the perfect drink for the holidays because it's made with whiskey or bourbon (perfect for those cold nights) and it's wicked badass.  I mean, let's be honest, this drink has been called the, "manliest drink in the world," you're going to look totally fancy when you mix this up for your next holiday party.

Now, if we're going to make an Old Fashioned, also referred to as the first official cocktail, you best believe we're going to do it right.

Let's talk ingredients.  An Old Fashioned can be made with whiskey, bourbon, or a blend. We could get into a whole discussion about the difference between whiskey and bourbon, but it has to do with location made and how it is store and is a whole other post entirely. I'm using Maker's Mark because it's a high quality bourbon. 
You're also going to need some Angostura bitters, sugar cubes, an orange, a lowball glass (also called an "Old Fashioned" glass or "rocks" glass).  You'll also need some ice. I prefer crushed ice for this cocktail, but it's not a necessity. 



To begin you're going to add 2 sugar cubes (or 1 tablespoon of sugar) to your glass with three dashes of bitters.  Traditionally, you'd just muddle these two things together, but I prefer to add an orange rind and a small splash of water.  Muddling the rind will let out some of its essential oils and the water will help the sugar dissolve.



Once everything is well muddled (don't get stingy, really muddle it up good) you can add 2 ounces of bourbon. For reference, a typical shot glass is 1-1/2 ounces.

Next you're going to stir.  Old Fashioned are not to be shaken, this isn't a martini for goodness sake! Give everything a good stir and garnish with an orange peel.


Viola! Your friends can't even try to not be impressed with you if mix them up one of these.  Plus, now you know how one is properly made so next time you're at the bar you can judge the barkeep's abilities.

Variations: It's no surprise that straight up bourbon with a dash a bitters and sugar is a little on the strong side for a lot of people.  Because of this, there are a few variations you can make to this drink if you're not quite ready to throw back and Old Fashioned the old fashioned way just yet (don't worry little bird, you'll get there. I'm like your alcohol fairy godmother.)

Many places serve this drink with a splash of seltzer which helps water down the bourbon a little.  Others muddle more orange or lemon into the drink.

My personal favorite variation is to add the juice of half an orange.  I think this adds just the right amount of orange flavor without overpowering the flavor of the bourbon.


Which ever way you mix it, you're going to love sipping this cocktail by your Christmas tree this season. 

If you want some other cocktail recipes (like a Cranberry Mojito, Skinny Margarita, Classic Mint Julep, Mulled Wine, Cucumber infused vodka, and more) make sure to check out my recipes page here!

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I was not compensated for this post. All products are purchased with my own money unless marked with an asterisk (*). An asterisk signifies a product that was sent to me as a gift or for review.
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