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The Power Of Red Lipstick: What To Consider When Choosing The Perfect Red Lip For Your Complexion.

In beauty, makeup on May 31, 2018 at 2:30 pm

A red lipstick is like an LBD.  Every woman should own at least one.

Remember the first time you wore a red lipstick?  I remember my first time.  I was a young teenager, perhaps 14 or so.  I don’t remember the color but I do remember purchasing it from the local beauty supply store and excitedly hurrying home to try it on.  I ripped open the packaging and remember just slapping it on my lips.  No prep and prime.  No liner.  No technique.  Honestly it wasn’t even really that red.  It was more of a berry color because I didn’t think that with my deep complexion I could pull off such a color so I played it safe.  Whatever the case, I was still excited and felt like I looked perfectly fine.

And then there were the stigmas.  The negative thoughts about women who wore red lipstick.  Whore.  Harlot.  Slut.  Jezebel – Jezzy for short.  Only immoral women and women of the night wore red.  And oh no- you didn’t dare wear red lipstick (or red anything) to the workplace or church.  Yes the ancient Egyptians wore it and even our favorite screen sirens but that was for them.  Not you.

Fast forward to today.  The negative mindset around wearing red lipstick has relaxed for the most part and many more woman are wearing it on a regular basis.  You see, women with cajones wear red lipstick.  And they wear it wherever and whenever they like.  Red is bold.  Sexy.  Iconic.  It commands attention and it is powerful.  Red lips are also the quickest way to look pulled together, like you have your entire life together- even if you really don’t.  Not for the faint at heart, red lips announce “I AM HERE”.

But what do you do if you aren’t comfortable with wearing a red lipstick or you haven’t had success in selecting a shade that actually looks nice on you?  You see your friends and favorite celebrities rocking a red pout but you aren’t sure about your ability to pull it off.  Or maybe you tried to actually wear a red lip outside of the house but you felt more like a clown instead of a sophisticated grown woman.  Whatever the case, if you are just exploring the possibility of wearing a red lipstick, there are options for you.  For example, if you are just starting out, you might opt for a sheer lip stain, balm or gloss.  Liner and balm is always an option to help you test the waters of wearing various shades and tones until you are more comfortable with the look.

As you journey through figuring out what looks good on you, here are some things to consider:

  • Formulation and finish.  There are many formulations and finishes of lip product that can influence the way a color looks on you.  Do you prefer a formulation that is an actual lipstick or more of a balm, gloss, stain or a hybrid like a liquid lipstick?  Would you prefer a glossy finish as opposed to matte (usually wears the longest), frost (shimmery with a pearl finish), satin (opaque without the dryness), or metallic?  Formulation sometimes determines finish (like a gloss) and taking both of these factors into consideration helps when you are deciding how you want the product to wear and what you want it to look like when creating certain looks and focuses for make up design.
  • Time of day.  The time of day, the occasion, or the setting can determine what color/finish you wear on your lips altogether.  Is it day or night?  Is this something you are going to wear on a daily basis or occasionally?  Do you work in a conservative environment where a sheer lip stain might be the only acceptable lip look? Are you going on a job interview at a law firm vs a trendy creative job?  These are just some of the factors to consider when shopping for a red lip (or any lip color for that matter).
  • Subtle or bold.  Are you going for a subtle or bold look?  What will your focus be – eyes, lips or complexion?  The answers to these questions can be used to determine the intensity of the red.  If you have a more dramatic eye, you might choose a more subdued red vs wearing a more bold/brighter lip.  If the latter is the case, leave the eye more neutral with liner and lots of lash and add blush for a neutral but not naked face.

What’s Your Undertone?

What exactly is an undertone?  It is the tone that is just under the first (or top) layer of your skin.  This information is used to determine what tone of lip color would look best on you.  How does one determine their undertone?  Two common ways to make that determination are jewelry and veins:

  • Jewelry Test.  If you feel you look better in silver jewelry, you most likely have cool (pink/red) undertones.  If you feel you look better in gold jewelry, you most likely have warm (yellow/golden) undertones and if you feel that you look good in both silver or gold, you most likely have neutral undertones which can be considered to be equal parts cool and warm undertones or the absence of both, depending on how you look at it.
  • Veins Test.  If you have blue veins, you are most likely a cool undertone.  If your veins are green, you are most likely a warm undertone.  If your veins are blue/green, you would most likely have neutral undertones.

Keep in mind that when it comes to finding the right red, you also have to consider more than complexion, although that is usually the main determining factor.  It’s also hair color and what you are wearing as well.  Ever notice that when you change your hair color, you may not be able to wear the same colors and tones that you did before you changed your hair color?  With undertones, you can complement and illuminate the complexion or create a beautiful contrast in skin tone and therefore should be used as a guide and not law that will keep you confined to a particular beauty box.

Once you have determined what undertone you are:

Keep in mind there may be overlap in regard to which undertone can wear what, as well as personal preference so again use this as merely suggestions and not law.

Ultimately, when choosing to wearing a red lip, wear what you are comfortable with.  The boldness of red lip is something you have to commit to and wear with confidence.

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Follow These Simple Wardrobe And Beauty Tips To Stay Flawless When You Are Busy And On The Go.

In beauty, fashion, makeup on May 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

It is no secret that being busy has become a normal part of life.  Between working the proverbial 9-5, building a business, going to school, maintaining relationships and the like, you have a lot on your plate which can cause distraction.  This distraction can sometimes lead to a sacrifice of self care and grooming/personal style but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Neglecting basic self care and grooming, can cause other things to suffer.

Looking good is feeling good.  When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you operate differently – from a place of confidence.  You might be thinking to yourself that you don’t have the time, knowledge or expertise to pull together your look (wardrobe, makeup, hair, etc.) but the success actually comes with planning and strategy.  By not making excuses and creating good habits such as planning out your week, getting up earlier or being more organized, you can put your best foot forward.  Below are some basic tips in the areas of wardrobe, makeup and hair to help you remain flawless and polished on the go…

Plan Your Wardrobe In Advance

Just like you would plan your upcoming week which may include tons of meetings, events, appointments and the like, take time to plan out your wardrobe in the same manner.  Pull all items together, including accessories, shoes, and proper undergarments to avoid the frenzy of trying to get ready in the morning.  Doing so helps to ensure you are able to get dressed and go instead of discovering at the last minute that your clothes need to be cleaned, pressed, or hemmed when instead you should already be ten minutes into your commute.  In addition, planning your wardrobe for the week, allows you to decide and schedule when your garments need laundering, repair or even disposal.  If you want to avoid the extra fuss and energy with coordinating all of the elements of an extensive wardrobe, you can create a uniform of sorts.  This may consist of several pieces (shirts, blouses, pants, skirts, etc.) of the same or similar pieces in colors such as black and white that you can wear repeatedly so you still look sharp and polished.  Keeping your color scheme neutral with strategic pops of colors makes it easier to mix and match your separates.  You can also explore the option of creating a capsule wardrobe.

Keep Makeup And Hair Simple

If you wear makeup, plan that out as well or at least have a well organized makeup bag and/or drawer and an idea of the look you are going for.  In all seriousness, if you want to try a new look, practice in your free time so you can nail the look and avoid having to clean up the mess you’ve created and starting over when you should have already left the house. You can always keep your look basic yet flawless with a good brow, mascara, gloss and radiant skin.  Remember that a good skincare routine cuts down on the need to put on tons of makeup.  If you want to do a little more than those basics but still not do too much, you can create a palette of frequently used eye shadows and blushes or use multi use products that you can use for more than one feature or purpose.

There are many options when it comes to hair and since hair doesn’t take care of itself, you will need to figure out how to care for and maintain it, even if you have a stylist that you go to.  This may mean consistently scheduling your appointments as well as figuring out how to do a great chignon or top knot, doing twist outs consistently, or keeping your hair cut on a regular basis.  Whatever the case, figure it out.  The same thought process goes for nails and brows as well.

Master The Day To Evening Look.

Many people have jobs that require a more conservative look but after work activities may require something less conservative.  Going home to change may not be an option so this is where creativity and planning is required.  Keep (or bring) items such as an extra pair of shoes, clutch and other accessories to switch into.  For your makeup, you might add a little more liner, blush and change your lip color before you head out.  If your hair is in a chignon, you might let your hair out or vice versa.  You can even add a hair accessory or put on some different hair altogether.  The options are endless.

Keep In Touch

To keep your look in tact be sure to touch up throughout the day.  Sure you may think that because you are super busy, you cant take 60 seconds to make sure everything is in place.  You have to use the bathroom at some point, right?  Hopefully?  Honor yourself enough to re-center yourself, take a few cleansing breaths, brush your teeth or at least gargle after that tuna fish sandwich.  Keep a small pouch in your desk or purse with travel items such as:

  • Toothpaste/toothbrush/mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Wipes
  • Tissue
  • Feminine care
  • Basic makeup items to reapply as well as a refreshing face mist.

To reiterate, being on point in the various areas of life, including your physical presentation, it takes planning, focus and consistency.  Take those few extra moments in the beginning of your week to ensure your days go as smoothly as possible and that you stay on top of your game.

What are some of the ways you stay flawless when you are busy and on the go?

Your Beauty Products Have A Shelf Life – Learn When To Toss These Items To Ensure Your Safety.

In beauty, makeup, skincare on May 7, 2018 at 12:00 pm

There is a big chance that the makeup you used this morning has expired.

Lets face it – most of us are beauty product hoarders.  We hold onto lipsticks and eye shadows forever because we don’t want to let them go.  It’s also cool to collect and hoard product just to say we have something.

And, even though we hoard makeup, we also love new beauty products as well.  The thrill you get when you open a new tube of lipstick or blush and apply that first swipe is like no other.  It’s kind of like exhaling.

Whether said beauty product is something we’ve purchased ourselves, received as a gift or won in some type of social media give away, we all pride ourselves with having the latest and greatest.  And let’s not even talk about an order that is coming in the mail:  we stalk the delivery guy, staring out of the window, making sure the doorbell is still working and incessantly check the tracking status to see where our package of hopes and dreams are- even though we literally just placed the order.  Not to mention, when our favorite makeup artist, beauty guru or celebrity launches a new product, no moment or cost is spared to purchase the newest palette, highlighter or foundation.

But what happens after the initial joy of our new makeup wears off?  Like the older, once beloved products,  it gets tossed to the side, stored away in a drawer somewhere until we decide to wear a particular product again.  If your makeup falls into the latter category, proceed with caution before you bring that product back into circulation:  chances are that product has expired.

What is a makeup shelf life?

Makeup can be stored away for a long period (up to 3 years) of time before it actually reaches you.  These products will eventually go bad but it will take longer because they are not opened and are usually stored in a cool dark place, preserving the shelf life.  For the purpose of this discussion however, we will discuss the shortened shelf life of product after purchase, when it is opened and exposed to various conditions.

All makeup has a PAO – period after opening, which is marked by an expiration date.  This expiration date is usually on the back of packaging with a small jar with a number in it.  This number indicates the life span of that product after opening.  Since most people don’t keep the original packaging their product comes in, it’s a good idea to write the date you opened the product or keep a log.  This is extra work but makeup that has gone bad is a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause a host issues such as irritation, swelling, breakouts and infection that may require medical attention.

Having said all of that, how do you know when to throw your makeup and other beauty products away?  When there is a change in color, texture, consistency, odor or performance. If your product is preservative free, you will definitely need to be mindful of the shelf life.  Keep the following guidelines in mind when purchasing and storing product:

  • Control the temperature your makeup is stored in.  If possible, dont keep your makeup in the bathroom where the temperatures fluctuate consistently and definitely do not leave your makeup in your car.
  • Don’t share your makeup and replace eye makeup after an eye infection.
  • Wash your hands before using your product.
  • Avoid jars when possible.  Every time you open a jar and stick your fingers in your product, it becomes contaminated.  Use a spatula or cotton swab instead.
  • Use a makeup sanitizer spray.  Also use a tissue to wipe off layer of uncertainty and make sure you clean your brushes.
  • Although it can be more economically sound to purchase the larger size of something, consider how often you will use the product.
  • If you find that you need to dispose of a product, do so by putting it in the garbage instead of pouring down the drain to avoid clogging the drain and contributing to contaminated water ways.

Below is a list of the estimated shelf life after opening for frequently used products (give or take):

Foundation

  • Oil free – 12 months
  • Cream and liquid – 18 months to 2 years

Concealer

  • Sticks – up to 18 months
  • Liquid and cream – up to 6 months

Powders

  • Most powder products, whether they are foundation, eye shadow, blush, bronzer or highlighter, can last up to 2 years.

Eyeliners

  • Pencils can last up to 2 years.  By sharpening the pencil before use, you will shave off some of the layer of uncertainty.
  • Liquid and gel – 3 months

Cream Eye shadow – up to 6 months.

Mascara – up to 3 months.

Brushes 2-5 years, sometimes longer with proper cleaning, conditioning, and storage.

Lipstick/liner – up to 12 months and gloss up to 2 years.

Cleanser/toner – up to 12 months.

Eye Cream – 6 months to 2 years

Serum/Treatment – 6 months to 2 years

Face/body moisturizer – up to two years.

Sunscreen – up to 12 months.

Nail Polish – up to 12 months.

How consistent are you with throwing away older beauty products?  Share your comments below.

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 3. How Concentration Affects Fragrance Longevity

In beauty, fragrance, lifestyle on May 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm


How many times have you applied your favorite fragrance before leaving the house only to have it fade away rather quickly?  You find yourself re-applying throughout the day but still don’t get the satisfaction of your fragrance lasting more than an hour.

You are not alone.  With the amount of money you spend on your fragrance, you would want it to stick around for a bit and radiate off of your smooth, silky skin.  You want to be excited about what you smell like and perhaps impress or excite those around you.  However, before you reach for that bottle to have yet another spritz, make sure you understand the composition of what you are spraying.  This will give you some insight regarding scent longevity.

Any time you shop for fragrance, you have the option of choosing from various formulations which include parfum, eau de parfum, and eau de toilette.  Every fragrance formulation is made up of varying concentrations of perfume oil which is the base of any fragrance and is what makes the actual smell.  This smell is usually unpleasant by itself and needs to be paired with or diluted by something else like alcohol (ethanol) and water to create various concentrations.  These concentrations are what gives fragrance their staying power.  There are many fragrance concentrations but here we will discuss the five most common:

  • Perfume (or parfum) is the most concentrated of all forms of fragrance.  Created with a perfume essence of 20-30% concentration, it is usually thicker and oilier and lasts the longest (up to 24 hours).  It is the most expensive and is usually sold in bottles with stoppers for the least amount of evaporation.  The best way to wear parfum is to dab in a few key areas such as behind the ears and/or the wrists so as not to overwhelm your nose or the nose of others.
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP) has less perfume essence (15-20%) and is diluted with alcohol and water.  It can last up to 8 hours and can come in a bottle or spray.  Although it is lighter than parfum, it can still be strong.  You can be a bit more liberal in your application, applying lightly during the day and and more for the evening.
  • Eau de toilette (EDT) is a perfume essence of 5-15% which is dissolved in an alcohol and water base.  It usually lasts up to 3 hours, and can be a better option for work, interviews and even first dates because it is lighter.
  • Eau de cologne which is usually reserved for masculine scents, only has 2-4% perfume oil concentration and lasts up to two hours.
  • Eau fraiche is the most diluted form of fragrance.  Almost like a body splash, eau fraiche has only up to 3% of fragrance oil and lasts up to an hour.

In addition to understanding scent concentration as it relates to longevity, there are some other things to consider when wearing and storing fragrance to make it last longer, such as:

  1. Spray your pulse points:  inner elbows, back of knees, ankles, back of ears, chest/decolletage, and inner wrist.  These places are warmer and will help emit the fragrance better.  When applying, be sure not to rub as that breaks down the fragrance.
  2. Use a combination of ancillary products.  These are the accompanying products such as shower gels, body lotions and powders in the same scent as your fragrance that you will layer to help that help to carry the scent and make it last longer.  These are usually purchased separately and can also be found in gift sets.
  3. Consider using a hair perfume or same fragrance in your hair.
  4. Moisturize your skin.  Fragrance evaporates more quickly on dry, flaky skin.  Try exfoliating first and following up with a rich body butter or oil (preferably light in fragrance or no fragrance at all if not using ancillary products) then layer your fragrance on top.
  5. Store your fragrance in a cool dark place.  Fragrance can go bad (discoloration and rancidity) so be sure to keep your fragrance in the original packaging, keep the top on and keep it away from heat and humidity.

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 2. Understanding The Evolution Process Of Scent Through Fragrance Notes

In fragrance, lifestyle on April 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm

 

English: A fragrance pyramid

English: A fragrance pyramid (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Understanding the process of how fragrance notes develop and evolve can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a new scent.

 

When shopping for a new fragrance, chances are you have heard references made to fragrances in terms of notes.  Just as a musical note is assigned to the sounds in the music we hear, fragrance notes describe the scent you smell.  These notes, whether in music or fragrance, evoke memories and moods that can usually be recalled in an instant.  These categories of scents are expertly crafted with the knowledge of how they interact with each other and how they evolve over a period of time.  Actually, this process can be thought of as an exact science.

Perfumers often refer to the fragrance pyramid when creating fragrances.  The fragrance pyramid is composed of the three notes (categories) that make up a fragrance and are referred to as the top (head), middle (heart) and base (bottom) notes.

The top note is the initial scent that you smell.  It is your first impression of a fragrance, usually lasting anywhere from 5-30 minutes.  As the most volatile, the top note is made of lighter ingredients, including alcohol, and will evaporate very quickly.  From the top note you can get a slight idea about the fragrance and if you are somewhat intrigued but not really sure, allow the fragrance to continue to develop.  Common top notes include bergamot, lemon and grapefruit.

The Middle note, often referred to as the heart note, develops 10-30 minutes after the initial top note.  Here is where you get to “know” the fragrance.  It is usually composed of more oils since it will need to last on the skin as opposed to the alcohol in the top note. It is the body or foundation of the fragrance and is usually warmer.  It can also act as a buffer between the bottom note which may or may not smell pleasant on its own.  Common middle notes include lavender, cardamom, and black pepper.

The bottom, or base, note gives the fragrance its weight and slows down the evaporation of the fragrance that has developed after a few hours.  This is where the true scent of the fragrance lies once the top and heart notes have evaporated and can last anywhere between 4 to 6 hours, sometimes longer.  Common bottom notes include vanilla, jasmine and sandalwood.

In addition to the traditional pyramid fragrances, there are some fragrances which are referred to as linear.  With a linear fragrance which doesn’t “develop”, one will usually experience a singular note or a group of similar notes at the same time.  “Juliette Has A Gun – Not A Perfume” is a fragrance in the linear category.  Made of a single element called Ambroxan, it is used in perfumery as a back note.

 

 

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance-Part 1. Understanding The Power Of Storytelling Through Your Fragrance

In beauty, fragrance on March 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

Do you remember the first fragrance you ever wore?  How old were you?  Where did it come from?  How did it make you feel?

Fragrance is a form of self expression and can be considered the ultimate accessory.  It can “linger – in rooms, clothes, your fingertips” and has the ability to seduce, boost confidence and evoke memories.  Scent can connect a person to a specific moment in time, a geographical location or even a person.  If applied correctly, fragrance makes you smell incredible, leaving wonderful lasting impression.

Signature vs Fragrance Wardrobe

There are two schools of thought when it comes to purchasing and wearing a fragrance.  There are those who believe in having a signature scent they are known by.  Those who prefer a signature scent might find it advantageous to do so because they want to be known by a specific scent.  It might be that it holds sentimental value because it was presented as a gift from a loved one or was worn for a particular moment in time. It may be for no other reason than it is a favorite, a go-to, eliminating the need to find the “right” fragrance.

On the other hand, there are those who take great pleasure in building a fragrance wardrobe (or closet) with a collection of fragrances.  A fragrance wardrobe can be like a photo book of snapshots relating to various moments in one’s life.  They can be worn in the same way as accessories – like shoes and jewelry- to complement various looks, moods and occasions.  In addition, many take great pleasure in collecting fragrance bottles, which look beautiful on one’s vanity.  With their beautiful design, every bottle, as well as the actual fragrance is created with a perfumers inspiration.  Knowing a perfumer’s back story can lead to a deeper appreciation of a fragrance (in both instances).

Whatever your preference, fragrance is personal and, in that regard, there is no right or wrong way to select and wear a particular scent.

Tell A Story

Because it is the ultimate accessory,  fragrance can be worn in different ways.  It can be seasonal, worn during specific times of the year. For instance, lighter, clean, fresh fragrances are usually worn in the spring/summer as well as the earlier part of the day vs deeper, richer, more full bodied fragrances which are reserved for the fall/winter as well evening.

Other factors to consider when wearing a fragrance include details such as fabric/material of clothing, venue and mood.  What comes to mind when you think of soft, crushed red velvet, smooth to the touch or a romantic, candle lit evening at your favorite hideaway?  Perhaps Dior J’adore or Tom Ford Black Orchid.  What comes to mind when you think of a gentle breeze and white linen or silk on a bright, warm sunny day at a beach resort?  Perhaps Nest Citrine or Tory Burch Bel Azur.  Are you feeling bold, playful or confident?  When in close proximity to other people, will your scent be appreciated or a nuisance?  Whatever the case, however you choose to wear your fragrance will tell your unique story to others.

How To Approach Selecting A Fragrance

With hundreds of fragrances to choose from, how do you choose what smells good on you?  Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, hairstyle or skin care, choosing a fragrance is trial and error – a journey if you will.  And, just because a fragrance is new, popular or your favorite celebrity wears (or creates) a fragrance doesn’t mean it will smell good on you.  Here are a few fun facts and simple tips to help you understand fragrance and discover what you like.

  1. Ever wonder why the fragrance that smells amazing on your BFF smells like hot garbage on you?  It’s because body chemistry/pH level affects the way a fragrance develops and smells on a person and therefore does not smell the same on everyone.  Spray one fragrance on 5 different people and you will get 5 different smells – some good.  Others not so good.
  2. The juice (concentration of oils in a fragrance) smells different inside the bottle, the nozzle, what is actually sprayed in the air as well as what is sprayed on a fragrance strip.  Yes, you can form an initial impression or idea by spraying it in this manner but it is best to begin judging a fragrance based on the way it develops on your skin.  Fragrance evolves over a period of time and has a dry down period.  This dry down period can be anywhere between 30 minutes (top note) and an hour and a half (bottom note).  The bottom note is where you will get the lasting impression of a scent and is where you will be able to make an informed decision about how a particular fragrance smells on you.
  3. When starting your fragrance journey, stick to smelling three fragrances per visit.  Smelling more than that leads to olfactory fatigue where your sense of smell becomes overwhelmed and you have difficulty distinguishing between the fragrances you are smelling.
  4. No coffee beans please.  Those shopping for fragrance have been trained to ask for coffee beans to reset their nose.  Coffee is another strong scent that can actually affect the way you perceive fragrance.  Instead, sniff the inside of your elbow that doesn’t have fragrance so you reset your nose with your natural scent.
  5. Get a sample of the three fragrances you are considering.  Spray the sample on an area of your body that won’t be disturbed.  Check in every 20 minutes or so to see how it is developing on you.  Another way to test a fragrance is to put it on a few hours before you retire for the evening (after your bath or shower).  This way you will able to experience the evolution process of the fragrance, thus allowing you to make a more informed decision.
  6. Enlist the help a trusted source.  Sure the ultimate decision is yours to make but because your fragrance will be experienced by many, getting a second opinion can be a good thing.  You want don’t want to be THAT person wearing that stank a$$ scent by which people will harshly judge you.

 

Morning Hacks To Get You Started With Your Day

In lifestyle on February 27, 2018 at 12:00 pm


Simple morning hacks to help get your day started…

There are countless days when you have to get up early.  Super early.  Before sunrise.  Getting up very early can be hard and traumatizing – almost like having someone douse you with ice cold water unexpectedly.  Maybe it is the cold of winter that makes you want to stay cocooned in your bed.  Maybe you don’t like the dark or you’re just tired.  Whatever the case, you have to get out of bed whether you want to or not and get started with your day.

Planning ahead and establishing a routine, especially when you have to get up before the crack of dawn, can make your process more tolerable and your day run more smoothly.  So the next time you have to get up super early, consider these tips:

Set your alarm to a hype morning song.  Having a hype song to wake up to can literally make you want to get out of the bed and dance.  If you have a household that needs to get up early, choose a song that gets everybody hyped and out of the bed.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed to give yourself time to think, meditate, pray.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to get out of the bed then making a scatterbrained leap out of bed.  Not the best way to start your day.

Turn on all of the lights.  This has helped me tremendously when I have to get up before sunrise (especially in the winter).  Perhaps get a timer to turn on the light a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to physically walk throughout the house to turn on lights.

Drink some warm lemon water.  Doing so will hydrate you and help wake you up.

Buy some new underwear.  I cant tell you how many times I have gone shopping for new underwear and couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underwear that makes one feel powerful, sexy, ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a full out HIIT workout which might take place in a physical gym or in your living room.  Wherever you choose to workout and whatever workout you choose to do, take a few minutes to do something which will get your blood flowing, burn some calories and make you alert, ready to take on the day.

Pre prep your meals and outfits ahead of time.   Eliminate the morning frenzy around food and clothing by preparing ahead of time.  It might be the day before or a plan for the week but whatever the case do it ahead of time so you can focus your energy on other important things.

Be realistic about your time.  Nothing is worse than rushing to get things done.  Do you find that you are late often or that you are making it to your destination just by the skin of your teeth?  Oftentimes we underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning or for any event so make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get everything done.  For instance, just walking to the car, getting in, putting on your seat belt, turning on the car take up time that counts so plan accordingly.

Don’t get caught up.  In your cell phone or laptop that is.  Email and social media can rob you of precious time.  If you aren’t in an industry like customer support where you have to answer email right away, set up a time where you will check all of that stuff or at least wait until you are done with your morning routine to check in.

What are your best morning hacks to keep you on track for a productive day?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep These Items On Hand For Entertaining Your Guests.

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on February 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

 

Be the host with the most by keeping these entertaining ideas in mind.

Gong out with your best friends is always a fun thing to do – gathering at your favorite restaurant and catching up over a delicious meal is always something to look forward to without worrying yourself about the details of your evening.  But what about those times you want to get together in your home?  What details do you consider to ensure your guests have a good time when they are in your home?  Whether you are hosting an impromptu gathering of friends unexpectedly “just stopping by” or having a more formal get together, there are some pantry staples to keep on hand (or at least top of mind) to make entertaining a breeze.  Ahead are ideas for items you can pick up at your local market to make your get together fun, festive and delicious!

Wine, Champagne, Sparkling Water/Juice. In addition to always having water nearby, these particular beverages speak sophistication and can enhance the flavor of the food/snacks you serve your guests.  It’s also a good idea to have a variety of teas on hand as well.

Popcorn.  Great for impromptu gatherings and easy to prepare, popcorn is the perfect snack without a ton of calories.  Sprinkle on a mixture of various seasonings to take your popcorn to the next level.  Give the following recipes a try:  a little olive oil, paprika, oregano, parsley, seasoned salt, chili powder and parmesan cheese.  Tortillas and salsa are also great options.

Crudite Platter.  Generally speaking, crudite platters usually consist of various vegetables.  Be creative and include various cheeses, meats,crackers/bread, fruit as well as hummus (or dip) and fruit spread.

Frozen Ravioli/Various Sauces.  Keeping these items on hand can make food prep a breeze.  Serve with salad and baguette.

Assorted Nuts and Chocolates.  Accessible at your local grocery store.  More variety and fun with a monthly subscription box or on nuts.com .

Ice Cream/Gellato.  Perfect to end the night.  Serve with coffee, berries, nuts, etc.

Candles/Flowers.  Perfect for the entryway and area where you are entertaining to create ambiance.

Serving Trays.  Serving trays make you and everything you serve look classy and elegant, even if you are serving pigs in a blanket while in sweatpants.

Music Playlist.  Create more ambiance with a continuous stream of great music which is easy to achieve with Pandora, Spotify and Apple Music.

What items do you keep on hand to entertain guests?  Do you always have a pantry stocked with a few essentials, rush out in in a hurry to grab a few things to eat or do you leave your guests to fend for themselves?  Please share below.

 

 

 

Clean Up Your Act With Farmacy Green Clean Make Up Melt Away Cleansing Balm

In beauty, makeup, skincare on February 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

When I first started hearing about the benefits of using facial oils as a moisturizer, I was not the least bit interested.  For someone who is very oily, somewhat of an Exxon Valdez oil spill to be exact, I wasn’t trying to hear it. Yeah, yeah, oil cuts oil but whatever.  Long story short, I eventually started using facial oils as moisturizer for my skin and discovered a world of difference.  By using oils, my skin became more balanced, less oily and had never looked better.

Now about those oil cleansers – that was another thing.  Yes I understood the benefits of oil cleansers but I just never felt they cleansed my skin the way I was accustomed to.  All I felt was residue on my skin that made it feel like my skin wasn’t clean.  My skin just felt slick which then made me have to double cleanse anyway.  So pointless.  As someone who is an avid makeup wearer (and make up artist), I need to be sure that whatever makeup and pollution is on my face is gone and that my face is squeaky clean.  That’s just me.  And those cleansing balms didn’t seem to be any better.  It just felt like I was swishing Crisco around on my face.

Then One day curiosity got the best of me after getting a demo on a new product from Farmacy  – Green Clean Make Up Melt Away Cleansing Balm.  Although I was impressed with the demo, I still wasn’t sure.  I was given the product to take home but I didn’t use it right away.  It actually sat on my bathroom counter.  I stared at it.  It stared back at me.  This went on for two weeks.  Then one evening I decided to use it.

I had on a face full of makeup so I figured this would be a great time to put Green Clean to the test.  I scooped out a small amount and apprehensively applied to my face – eyes and lips included and hopped in the shower to continue my evening beautification rituals.  I rinsed the Green Clean off my face which was, at this point, a colorful mixture.  My face actually did not feel slick and greasy.  It actually felt clean. Hmmmph.  Ok.  Interesting.  I still decided to use my regular cleanser and Clarisonic cause I’m looking for a reason to discredit Green Clean (remember, I’m a skeptic and a double cleanser anyway).  When I rinsed my face off, THE. WATER. WAS. CLEAR.  I was done.  I had been won over.  Super amazed, I told everyone I knew about green clean.

So what makes Green Clean so good?  Made with green echineacea evny, Farmacy’s own proprietary blend, Green Clean is great for all skin types.  It is a balm made from all natural ingredients that literally melts pollution, debris, and All makeup away, including the smokiest of smoky eyes.  This product also is not animal tested, and doesn’t contain unfriendly ingredients such as formaldehyde or artificial coloring.  What I also like about Green Clean is that it doesn’t drip all over the place when you apply it to the face nor does it irritate my eyes.  Just scoop out a small amount with the included spatula and apply to your face.  When it makes contact with water it turns milky and rinses away clean.

As I have said before, I am a double cleanser and always will be however I will now always include this cleansing balm as part of my beauty line up. Not only am I fascinated with the fact that I have found a balm that I actually love, it will also help me conserve my regular facial cleanser as well.

Tips For Hosting Overight Guests

In etiquette, how to, lifestyle on February 25, 2018 at 1:30 pm

Usually there is nothing more exciting than having your favorite people visit you from out of town.  When you have guests coming to stay with you for the weekend, you want to make their visit as pleasurable as possible.  And while you don’t have to do a complete home makeover, you want to make sure you extend the same hospitality and grace that you would like to have extended to you.  With the following tips and some planning, you can ensure that you an your guests have a wonderful extended time together.

First things first – figure out where your guest is going to sleep.  If you have a spare room, this won’t be too much of an issue.  If you live in an apartment, chances are your guest will sleep on the couch or on an air mattress.  Wherever your guest is going to sleep, make sure the area is comfortable, that the area has curtains/blinds and that you have provided pillows, clean linen, a blanket, waste basket and a cleared shelf or table for their use.  You can also provide bedside emergency such as a box of tissue, pain killers and antacids just in case.

Double check dates and times of arrivals, departures as well as length of visit.  If you are picking your guest up from the airport (train/bus station), make sure you have the correct location.  Nothing is worse than being on time at the wrong place.  I know.  I’ve done that.

If you have a driveway and your guest is driving to your home, save your best parking spot for them.  If you live in the city where parking is often difficult to find, let your guests know where and when to park.

Explain the quirks of your place and show your guest where everything is.  You have lived in your place for some time so you know how everything works.  You know about that toilet handle you have to jiggle and the door you have to lift and pull in order to close.  Make sure you pass this information on to your guests to save them the agony and possible embarrassment of fumbling around your home.

Stock up on toiletries and create a landing space for your guests things in the bathroom.  Usually guests bring their own personal items but it is always nice to provide a nice basket filled with body wash, unscented body lotion, toothbrush as well as a towel, washcloth, loofah, etc.  Also, make sure there is enough toilet tissue, and keep a toilet brush and a plunger nearby.

Keep a loose schedule so your guests have time to breathe, especially when they first arrive.  If your guest is in town to visit you specifically, you can always plan for activities ahead of time by asking what your guest wants to do.  If your guest is in town for business,  discuss your schedules in advance and make sure they have access into and out of your place.

Make sure your guest has your wifi access, any access codes to get into and out of your building.  Also make sure they know how to work the heater/air conditioner, remote controls and provide an extra power strip so they can plug up their computer, phone, etc.

Plan meals ahead of time and make sure you have something for your guest to snack on when they arrive.  If you can, go out to dinner one of the days your guest is in town.  Also, you can do some crock pot meals so that you don’t have to spend all of your time cooking. In addition, stock your fridge and pantry with goodies such as fruit, cheese, veggies, cold cuts, condiments, bread, pasta salad, crackers and chips that will be easy for you and your guest to fix meals and snacks.  And don’t forget the wine (or sparkling soda), juice and water.

What are some of the things you do when hosting an overnight guest in your home?