After almost six years together…I still get outrageously excited for “date night”. Maybe it is because Andrew and I spend most nights apart (due to work schedules) or maybe it is because we have so much freaking fun together…all I know, is…I can’t get enough of that guy!

I think some of the fun of having a date night is the anticipation and the ritual of getting all dolled up! I make it my mission…after this many years together…to try and take his breath away every time I breeze down the stairs and announce, “I’m ready!”

I discovered a few years ago…that the “perfect” date night look…required a certain amount of balance and skill. Enough makeup to accentuate his favorite features…but not so much he had trouble recognizing me. Something cute and a little bit sexy….but not so trendy that it left him confused and not so sexy that it left him feeling protective and jealous. And finally, a few details that prove you actually listen to your significant other when he says he really likes that dress or that hairstyle.

It took a minute, but I finally have the “perfect date night look” ready to execute whenever Andrew and I make plans!

4  Quick Rules I Always Follow When Primping for Date Night:

1. Relaxed hair. Andrew loves when I curl my hair, he’s told me…but I have also paid attention to what he seems a little less fond of. Intricate up-do’s, stiff & hair-sprayed hair and tight pony tails usually don’t get much of a response out of him. Loose curls, messy pony tails and disheveled braids he can’t get enough off! 😉

2. Cute, flirty & comfortable. The fact of the matter is…your love most likely already thinks you’re adorable. There is no need to pull out ridiculous heels, tight skirts and uncomfortable dresses. As a matter of fact…nothing will put a damper on the night like wincing every time your shoes cut into your big toe (trust me, I’ve been there). So, your best bet is to wear something flattering, comfortable and a little bit flirty!

3. Just Say No To Lip Gloss. Listen, put the lipstick and the lip gloss away and save it for girls’ night out. When I’m heading out on a date night with Andrew I stick to chap-sticks, lip balm and usually just Vaseline! A guy wants to be able to lean in for an impromptu kiss without leaving with a sticky sweet mess of lip plumbing gloss all over his mouth.

4. Make An Entrance. Don’t let them watch you get ready!! Date night is sacred, you want to be able to “wow!” the love of your life. Even if you live together, kick their cute butt out of your bathroom and don’t let them see you again until you’re ready for the big reveal! It makes things so much more fun…and it helps keep those butterflies around as long as possible! 😉

Just in case you need a little outfit and makeup inspiration…this is my finished date night look! The best part about this post…Andrew did the photography. Which means lots of laughs and smiles!

The Absolutely Perfect Date Night Look

Spring Date Night

Summer Date Night

Summer Dress Date Night

Date Night Look 4

Makeup Tutorial

Well, this is it. My very first video tutorial. It didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked…some technical difficulties (the recording stopped about 8 minutes before I was done), some cringe-worthy moments (do I really sound like that??), and some first timer mistakes (okay, a lot of first timer mistakes-couldn’t make myself look into the camera, pronouncing things wrong, be an all around goofball) but…I did it!! Can I just say…there is nothing more humbling than seeing an extremely well lit, makeup free version of your face in HD. I digress.

I love, love, LOVE this look and I was so excited to share it with you! It is SO simple and I think an incredibly flattering look for anyone who wants to give it a try!

Here are just a few more looks at the finished product!

Every Day Makeup Tutorial

Makeup Tutorial for an Every Day Face

And as I previously alluded to…the end of the tutorial was cut off, but you got most of the important stuff! A list of the products I used can be found below the video. Again, I am SO sorry the video got cut off at the end. Rookie mistake! All you missed after the Watt’s Up was me applying the mascara!

Okay, enjoy!

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
Clinique Hydro Surge CC Cream in Medium
Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation
The Balm Bahama Mama Bronzer
 Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush in Passion
Lorac Shadow Primer
 Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Palette
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Zero
Benefit They’re Real Mascara
Anastasia Brow Genius Kit

 

Spring To Do List

I know what you’re thinking. I live in Omaha…it’s 20 degrees out…and I am still chattering on about Spring.

The truth is…I think I’m obsessed. It’s all I can think about!!

And so, in an attempt to tide myself over until snow turns to rain and we break out the flip flops…I have been compiling a to-do list of sorts. Consider it a celebration of leaving winter behind!

1. Get a blowout. I have never had one! And it just so happens….an adorable blow dry salon called Lark opened up recently in Omaha, so…I think it’s time. I’ve gathered the following for my inspiration!

Blowout Inspiration

Right (image via Fitness)
Middle (image via They All Hate Us)
Left (image source unknown)

2. Get a ridiculously spring worthy manicure! The last time I spent money on a manicure was before my wedding…8 months ago. I think I’ve earned one. I have my sights set on both of these!

Nude_and_teal_French_manicure

metallic manicure

 

3. Splurge on an adorable pair of pajamas! I think pj’s and nighties are pretty much my favorite thing article of clothing to buy and wear on the planet. Always cute, usually flattering and definitely comfortable! The entrance of warmer weather means I can put the sweats and over sized hoodies away and start bopping around the house in something my husband actually wants to see me in! These are a few potentials!

Cute & Sexy Pajama Inspiration

 All images (via Shopbop)

4. Prep my “first day it’s warm I am totally going to wear this” outfit. Am I the only one that does this? It doesn’t matter what season I am in…I always have the perfect outfit for the next season. I haven’t sorted out the specifics yet…but I’m using these as inspiration.

Spring Fashion Inspiration

Left (image via Fashion World)
Middle (image source unknown)
Right (Image via Laurenconrad.com & Lucky Magazine)

5. Make this for dinnerGrilling out is pretty much the best thing ever.

grilled-salmon-kabobs

6. Try out this makeup tutorial. It would look great with a little sun on my cheeks!

7. Create the perfect spring/summer playlist! This is the one I jammed to last year!

What’s on your spring to-do list??

 

It’s about that time….when I get antsy for spring. I’m sick of jeans and boots and the whole ORDEAL of getting dressed for a winter day and quite frankly, I could use a tan. I look ill.

I long for flip flops, open windows, patio hopping, Summer Shandy, golf outings with my man and, of course, the smell of fresh cut grass everywhere.

Of course, days like today (it was 60 degrees!) only encourage my spring-time daydreams. But, a look at the 10-day forecast as confirmed my suspicions…we have a ways to go.

So, those of you who are winter whining as well…please bare with me…as all of the things I am “loving lately” are very spring/summer like! And those of you who live in a perpetually summer-like climate…just know, I’m bitter.

1. Favorite Lip Color

Perfect Spring Lip Color

Revlon’s Just Bitten Lip Stain is my favorite drugstore find and “Smitten” my favorite shade (pictured above).

It stays on ALL DAY. I mean….all day, you will literally have to remove it at the end of the day if you want it off! 🙂

I just freshen it up with some gloss or chap-stick throughout the day and the color remains fresh and vibrant.

2. Lauren Conrad’s Spring Collection

Lauren Conrad Spring Collection

As if the clothes were not perfect amounts of feminine and fashionable…but then she has to go put a tennis court in the photo shoot…with PINK TENNIS BALLS.

I adore her...and as expected this collection is superb!

3. Favorite Band

American Authors Believer

If you haven’t heard Best Day of My Life yet…then you obviously don’t know what happiness feels like! 😉 Perfect song to wake up to in the morning!

The good news…American Authors is not a one hit wonder!

Their EP is filled with the same uplifting, fast paced songs and their first full length album is expected on March 4th!

Here is my current favorite of theirs! “Believer”

4. Embracing my Face!

No Makeup Look

Due to a some ridiculous eye issues (that just won’t quit) I have been forced to go out into the world bare-eyed.

To be embarrassingly honest…at first, I didn’t want to leave the house. But now….I think I’m starting to like it! As a matter of fact…I think I am going to be sporting the “less is more” look A LOT this spring/summer.

There is something appealing about a fresh faced look…there is also something appealing about the time it saves me in the morning!!

So, be looking for a lot more makeup tutorials for this kind of look!

5. Predicting this to be my go-to summer drink!

Moscato Strawberry Lemonade

The VERY FIRST day it is warm enough…my friends and I will be sitting on my patio drinking this!

My mouth is quite literally watering at the idea of it…and of course the idea of sunshine…REAL, WARM sunshine!

6. A Little “Thinspiration”

Swimsuits

I can’t stop…shopping for swimsuits!

I declared to friends and family that I want to be 127 lbs by my 27th birthday.

I will not divulge exactly how many lbs are needing to be lost between now and then….but it is certainly a reasonable goal. In an effort to keep my eye on the prize I have been starting…and ending my day…with a little online swimsuit shopping. Not sure if its helping me lose the weight or just all of my money…but, time will tell!

You can find these swimsuits here & here!

 

 

 

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StopABreakout

At what age, exactly, can I expect to stop breaking out?

I mean at age 26 (almost 27) I am experiencing…blemishes & breakouts AND the undeniable signs of aging…it’s cruel, really, it is.

Because breakouts appear to be an inevitable part of my life I have developed a quick way to stop my breakouts as quickly as possible!

We all know what steps are involved in caring for our skin but..then we get busy, and things like that get pushed aside. When my skin starts rebelling I reference this checklist!

CheckList

Without fail, every time I reference this list I find the culprit!

Did I miss anything??

What are your secrets to stopping a breakout?

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It’s strange and so very sad….that people exit this world without hardly making a ripple.

Husbands and wives, and moms and dads, and teenagers and infants are all laid to rest…leaving those who love them with the overwhelming idea of existing without them. Meanwhile, the rest of us are laughing, or fighting, or frantically finishing a project at work – our life, happening, while someone else’s has simultaneously ended.

The world has lost one of it’s best, my world has lost one of it’s best. And it deserves a ripple.

Val Mitchell was all sorts of beautiful. Enormous amounts of funny, charming, wise, compassionate, forgiving, patient and warm. So warm.

She is one of the very few people I encountered on this planet who could make me feel calm, sitting next to her was certainty that, at least while you were with her, life would be good and it would be full.

I loved her from the very moment I met her.

So, tonight, I will cry myself to sleep (though I know she will hate that) and tomorrow I’ll begin the journey of existing in a world she no longer physically walks. And I hope any of you, stranger or friend, who come across this, will pause for a moment to recognize the loss and that pain that accompanies it.

0170

 

Naked 3 Inspiration

I’m in LOVE with all things NAKED!

Damn Urban Decay for making something so wonderful and naming it something so awkward.

In all seriousness, UD really outdid themselves with the Naked 3 Palett. The colors, the presentation and the brush (double ended) are all equal parts unique and yet on trend. That really should be UD’s motto if you ask me!

This is my current “go-to” look from the palett. It’s neutral and yet a little bit glam!

1604102_10101941146788219_348256441_o

Naked 3 3

 

 Be sure to start with a great eye shadow primer first!! These colors deserve some preparation!

1. Start with “Trick” on your inner half of your lid. This color is literally happiness in a shadow!!! I love it!

2. Next, add “Burnout” on the outer half of your lid.

3. Apply just a bit of “Strange” on your brow bone.

4. Blend “Nooner” into your outer/upper (whatever you wanna call it) crease, blend it right below the brow bone!

5. Tap “Dust” into the inner corners of your lids to give them a nice lustrous shine!

6. Carefully apply “Blackheart” into the outer corner and inner crease creating that angle off the eye. You are going to want to build on this color, start with a little, tapping off any extra and work from there! Much easier to add than to subtract!!

Finish off the look with your favorite liner and mascara.

I used the “Black” shade in the Lorac Pro Palett as a base for my liner and then topped it off with Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide on Eye Pencil in “Zero”. And then of course finished the lashes with Benefit’s They’re Real!

Create a dewy finish on your face and you’re all set!!

Hope you love it!

5 Beauty tricks to try today

Happy Friday!!

Tonight, while I was completing one of my (rather strange) beauty rituals…I tried to remember where I came up with it! I decided this one stemmed from a trick my mother taught me -gotta love moms! It dawned on me that several of my absolute favorite little beauty tricks were either passed down to me or learned by some trial and A LOT of error.

I figured my lovely readers might be looking for a winter pick-me-up for their beauty routine so I wanted to share my 5 favorite beauty tricks and tips. I like to consider today’s post a Part I, because I predict I will have lots more of these to share!

1. Vaseline for Eyes and Lips

I feel like I could write an entire blog post dedicated to all of the amazing uses for Vaseline…but I’ll save that for another time.

I want to talk about eye makeup remover…have you checked the ingredients of yours lately? Almost every eye makeup remover out there has at least one ingredient considered harmful to the skin, depending on your skin type and sensitivity you might be experiencing some adverse reactions to the product you are using. The delicate skin around our eyes is SO sensitive especially this time of year (it is dry ya’ll!) that I like to be as gentle with it as possible. Two years ago I realized that I was spending $18.00 for my 4 oz. of eye makeup remover and I wasn’t even loving the results. My mother touted that she has always relied on Vaseline to remove her eye makeup. If you knew my mother you would take any beauty advice she has to offer (gals got skills!) and so I went out and purchased 13 oz of Vaseline for $2.36.

You guys…its great. Takes a minute to get used to the texture but it removes even the toughest eye makeup gently and easily! I leave some leftover on my eyes so that it can work its moisture magic in combination with my eye cream. And…while this isn’t proven…I swear it helps my eye lashes grow long, lush and healthy!!

(Update! Please see comment section for a little more clarification on how to use this!)

I also smear Vaseline on my lips multiple times a day. These days…chapsticks and lip balms are cheap and unaffective or hydrating and unaffordable. I love putting Vaseline on top of a lipstick to give it a glossy shine!

2. My ‘They’re Real by Benefit’ mascara Hack.

It is not a secret that I worship this mascara…so I feel awfully guilty about providing a little hack to save yourself some money…but when a mascara is $28.00 this kind of stuff happens!!

I can’t be the first one to notice that this stuff seems to last HALF as long as my other tubes do and it sucks because it is just SO good. Essentially, I use this hack to make it last just a little bit longer. I truly believe that 75% of it’s magic exists in the brush!

So, first things first, you need to get your hands on a tube of this treasure and then, you need to go to any drug store and get your hands on the Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes. This is THE BEST drugstore brand mascara. I promise you.

Basically, I dip the “They’re Real” brush in this formula on days/nights in which I don’t need my makeup to look it’s very best. Work, grocery shopping, church, etc. No one cares if my eye lashes are flawless. Nights out, date nights, important meetings, pictures, etc. I use the real stuff.

Truly, I can barely tell on the days I use the hack! And I can go much longer in between handing over my life savings for Benefit’s mascara!

Benefit They're Real

3. Ice Cube facials

I know I mentioned this technique before but I wanted to reiterate the magic of a quick, maybe slightly painful, but definitely refreshing ice cube facial.

This past Monday I woke up with the puffiest of eyes and cheeks. Unfortunately, Mr. Grade and I got into a little newlywed argument on Sunday evening. By bed time all was good in the world but the damage had been done….Monday morning I looked like I was stung by a bee.

So, I went downstairs, grabbed three of the biggest cubes I could find and rubbed each of them along my face until they were nothing but drops of water. Ta-da! I was refreshed and as good as new! Yes, the process is mildly uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as people asking me all day, “do you feel alright?”

4. Baby Gel + Hempz = Silky Soft Skin

moisture tricks

After trying a Pinterest FAIL – trying to shave with Baby Gel, gross – I decided to find another use for my recently purchased Gel. I began applying immediately after taking a shower or bath, while my skin was still very damp! Putting this stuff on dry skin is not a pleasant experience.

After that I went about my usual “get ready” routine and wait for the gel to really lock in the moisture and soak into the skin. And then, I finish it up with a healthy portion of Hempz lotion all over.

My skin stays soft and healthy all day long! No random, dry, end of day flaking.

Not to mention…I smell like a dream!

5. Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo

Once my hair reached a certain length it became painfully obvious that I did not have the time nor resources to wash it, dry it and style it every single morning. And so, I turned to dry shampoo.

I talked a bit about finding one of my favorite in a previous post…unfortunately, I was having a hard time finding it for less than $26.00 and using it much too quickly.

So, I turned to baby powder! If your hair isn’t blonde….don’t use it. Sorry!

But, if you are blonde, use a big puffy powder or bronzer brush to apply to your roots. Soaks up the oil AND makes your hair smell fresh and clean!

I love it because it doesn’t leave a heavy, sticky feeling that some dry shampoos leave behind. Plus, I’ve been using the same $3.00 bottle for months!

I hope you guys all get the chance to try these out…maybe this weekend?? 🙂

And please, please, PLEASE share some of your favorite beauty tricks in the comments! Love a good beauty tip!

Blog photo

I need to tell you something…

I’m not a real big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.

Sometimes…I feel like people use the new year as an excuse to put off a goal, a change or a decision that really should be made immediately. It becomes a “New Years Resolution” and you sit on it until January 1st. And then, you expect the new years magic to take it and make it happen…and when it doesn’t (because, spoiler alert, there is no “New Years Magic”) said resolution sits in resolution purgatory and you become sad.

See where I’m going with this?

So, I suppose my purpose for writing this post now is…that people are looking for stuff like this; but please remember that recognizing the need for a change, an improvement, something new…etc. should spur immediate action!

While I am not, by any means, a goal reaching expert…I’ve set and failed to reach hundreds of them! But, I have found, that those I have reached have all shared the same tactics. So, here’s a few suggestions on setting and reaching your goals!

1. Tie your wish, desire, want, etc. to a tangible & measurable goal. 

There is a huge, HUGE difference between I want to be healthier vs. “I want to lose 15 lbs.” or “I want to stop drinking pop.” or “I want to spend 3 days a week in the gym.” Wishing for success is useless until you tie it to a goal, “I will get a degree.” “I will find a new job.” “I will devote 3 more hours per week to my current position.”

See where I am going with this? It is impossible to resolve to “be healthier” what does that even mean? You owe it to yourself to define your goals and your visions instead of throwing out an ambiguous desire!!

2. Write it down. 

Type it up, script it out, tape it to your mirror, stick it on your fridge, go out and buy yourself some puff paint and craft it onto an old t-shirt for all I care! Just get it down…were you can see it -preferably every day! And then….read it every day! Take a quick second to remind yourself of what you want and how you’re getting it.

A daily reminder will prevent you from falling out of touch with your goal as well as remind you of why you might be making certain sacrifices or enduring something difficult.

3. Create a vision board. 

Vision boards rock. Truly, they do.

There are SO MANY creative and fun ways to express your vision -and that board will serve as a constant (&inspiring) reminder of what you hope to accomplish. I have multiple…mostly because they are just so damn fun to make! 🙂

If you need some inspiration::I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to vision boards.

Just a note- the irony of the fact that I have a “vision board” dedicated to vision boards is not lost on me.

4. Make changes. 

Setting a goal is not and should not be permanent.

We’re humans…we change our minds, we discover and learn and sometimes we find that our goal might need a few adjustments! When you feel like your journey to change might need a little change that does not indicate failure!

Just be sure you are making the change for the right reason! Don’t switch things up because something became “too hard” or “took too long.”

5. Don’t obsess. 

Having a vision and a goal in which you truly desire will sometimes require sacrifice, extreme effort and willpower; but this does not give you the right to “obsess”.

Can’t tell if you’re obsessing? Ask your significant other, your best friend and maybe your co-workers.

This is supposed to be fun, an adventure and an incredible journey. NOT the opportunity for you to beat yourself up over wasted time or setbacks.

This past October I decided that I would reach my goal weight within the year. That meant 20 more lbs to lose. I created a plan and stuck to it rigidly for 3 weeks with amazing results but far too many sacrifices! And then, one Thursday evening while out with my husband I drank a beer and shared his nachos with him. We were having a lovely evening…until I started mentally calculating every calorie I started consuming….and then I threw a legit fit. After crying, pouting and destroying the evening I realized I was going to have to find a way to approach this with a little less obsession.

Creating the life you want…it’s not an easy thing, but making changes and moving forward should always be, at the least, exciting and fulfilling. Consistent misery, out of control obsession and a lack of life should never be a part of the equation!

You should be having a little fun with it!

There is nothing more gratifying than giving someone you care about a gift that they  LOVE!
Unfortunately, finding that gift can be a less than pleasant experience. By “less than pleasant” I mean stressful, pressure filled, crowded, miserable and rash inducing. For real, I’ve worked myself up in such a gift giving tizzy that my body had no choice but to rebel in the form of a rash on my back.
Issues, I’ve got lots of them! 😉
So, if any of you find yourselves in the same gift giving predicament.
I’m here to help….and over the next week I will be supplying you with a gift guide for everyone (male/female, husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, mom/dad, daughter/son, sister/brother, best friend, co/worker, mother-in-law) in your life!
If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet…this would be a GREAT time to do that! 😉
Let’s start with the beauty product lovers!
Ultimate Beauty Gift Guide
The best thing about good quality beauty products…they can literally be given by anyone to anyone. No restrictions! I’ve put together 9 of my faves!
If you are a follower of this blog…my love for benefit is no secret! This cute little kit contains two of my beauty faves, comes in an adorably “vintage-themed” case and it is suitable for all skin types and tones!
An exfoliating treatment and a mud mask (my absolute favorite) all in one adorable ready to gift box–it’s like a day at the spa! Not to mention it has “sexy” in the name. Instantly more fun for the giver and the getter!
If you really feel like spoiling the shit out of someone…this is the way to go! As previously mentioned in this blog…the Clarisonic cleansing system is basically a life full of happiness and clear skin in a cute little gadget! Add the Josie Maran Set with the adorable bag and this gift has all of the makings of greatness!
4. & 9. Naked & Naked 2. $52.00 each
There are very few people on the planet who would argue with the statement, “Naked Eye Shadow Pallets are a game changer”. Because they are. They have single handedly changed the way we purchase and use eye shadow. They are expensive because they are good. Plus, Naked 3 is set to come out soon…which makes me think there might just be some sizzling deals on it’s old sisters!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed…but Rose Gold is taking over the world. Soon we will be driving SUV’s in Rose Gold. I’d be okay with that…! This nail kit makes it easy to seriously bling out your nails in the most popular metal of the year.
Dry shampoo is a gift from God. There’s just no way around it. Women everywhere are finding themselves with an immense amount of time as they skip the every day hair wash and turned to dry shampoo instead. This little gem takes it up a notch! Compact, travel friendly and easy to apply. Fresh hair can be had after a long day of work or halfway into a night of sweaty dancing at the bar. It’s perfect!
Truly the only thing you really have to put in your hair post-wash. Detangles, protects, smooths and shines. Plus it smells delicious!
Every woman should own some Chanel. You can quote me on that. Premiere takes the classic Chanel No5 and makes it into a fragrance almost anyone can carry! Light, fresh and powdery, it can be worn day or night whatever the occasion! Not to mention it’s just fun to start your day with a spray of Chanel! 😉
Hope that helps! Stay tuned for lots more gift ideas!