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!


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!

Ugh. I promised myself that I would NOT get sucked into the holiday vortex and neglect my updates…unfortunately, it appears that I have done exactly that!

The good news is…plenty of new readers have still been happening upon the site and deciding to subscribe to my updates! Subscribers make me giddy!

If you are a new subscriber…I promise you’ll be hearing from me much more than you have lately!

The other piece of good news is…while I may have been neglecting updates…I was certainly NOT neglecting my blog! I have been working incessantly on the back end of things so that I can improve my content, photos and the overall experience for my readers! I think you guys will like what you see in 2014!

So, just to catch you all up to speed – a quick picture update on life!

-Here are the highlights-


I’ve been attempting to use my own organization tips and closet clean-up to help my mother avoid becoming a hoarder. It’s still a work in progress. 🙂


For the first time in our 5 years together my husband has hair.

This means….at least once a day he asks how his hair looks, he takes even LONGER to get ready and he pouts consistently about not being able to wear his sunglasses on his head or a hat when it is cold.

I love it though…so it’s staying.


I struggled with my diet…


We celebrated my best friend’s birthday with a surprise party!


I laughed a lot. This kid contributed to a lot of that laughter.


Did I mention I struggled with my diet….? 🙂


Andrew I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as a married couple!


AND for the first time ever…I beat him in darts!! 🙂


Nebraska lost to Iowa. 🙂


Andrew and I enjoyed another nerf gun war!


I put a Christmas tree in the bedroom. Best decision ever!


I had the best Christmas ever.


And I got a Kate Spade purse!!!! 🙂

Now that you’re all caught up…I promise not to abandon you again!

Happy Monday!

holiday playlistSomething about this frigid, windy night has me MORE than ready for Christmas!

I have been so busy with work, projects and spending time with my husband (seriously, I’ll never get tired of that guy! <3) that I haven’t had a chance to update lately.

Some very exciting changes are happening with the blog…I can’t wait to share more soon!

In the meantime…in the hopes of getting all of my readers into the holiday spirit…here is a perfect holiday playlist!

A little mix of everything!

There is this pesky rumor going around that women are difficult to please and incredibly hard to shop for.

Not true.

When picking out a gift for any of the women in my life I like to make sure the item falls under one of the following categories:

Just Plain Cute

If it falls under one of those categories…you’ve probably got yourself a great gift!

Here are some of my favorite picks for gift giving this season!

Gift Guide for HER!
Chicks love candles, it’s in our DNA. And this candle…is the queen of candles! I prefer but Rose but all of the scents are incredible!
It’s adorable. It’s from Anthro. What else can I say?
For the hostess in your life…this gift is perfect!
This is the perfect “going out” accessory! I am of the belief that every gal should have an “iPhone purse”! And this one is adorable!
The perfect accessory!
More than meets that “cozy” category I mentioned earlier.
7. Knee Highs. $22.00
Cozy & cute! I’m obsessed with knee highs, put ’em on over a pair of leggings will a pair of boots and they can make any outfit that much better!
8. Polka Dotted Pot Holders. $14.00
Another great hostess gift and an excellent addition to a holiday party!
9. Fiona Apron. $34.00
Nothing makes me feel like whipping up an excellent meal more than putting on an adorable apron. Anthro has the best, and this one is classy and pretty enough to be worn by the hostess all night!

Sometimes I write letters to my daughter…one I don’t have yet, but someday expect to bring to life. It feels like a diary, a lesson, a glimpse into the life I lived before & maybe during her existence. I hope one day, when she feels like she’s a million miles away from me, dealing with experiences and heartache that I can’t begin to understand I can hand her this journal…giving her a literal piece of my heart and we’ll find common ground.

This evening, while sitting in my favorite coffee shop, drinking my favorite latte and listening to premature Christmas music I suddenly found myself a witness to a mother calmly trying to soothe her inconsolable daughter. Bits of the conversation provided enough information for me to understand that the daughter’s heart was broken and the mother was trying to pick up the pieces.

I put down my coffee and I wrote this letter.

Dear Daughter,

I imagine you often…as a baby, as a curly haired toddler, as a grade school spelling bee champ but mostly as a young woman. I imagine you’ll have your dad’s eye lashes, long and thick and irresistible. You’ll probably have his dimples too and his charming grin. I sure hope you have his metabolism! 😉 But, I imagine you will have my eyes…blue and clear and nothing short of a precious gift that your grandparents contributed to. 

When I picture those big blue eyes, framed with your daddy’s lashes…I dread the day I see them filled with tears. 

I wish I could tell you that life is going to be nothing but good to you. I wish I could say that your good heart, your sweet smile and your fascination with everything will be enough to spur only goodness from those around you. I wish I could tell you that you’ll have nothing but wonderful friends, attentive and gentle lovers and co-workers and bosses who will be nothing but grateful for you. I wish I could say you won’t have to hurt. 

But, you will.

You’ll hurt hard.

I feel like you must be warned…you’re going to love someone that doesn’t deserve you. 

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how independent and strong your dad and I raise you to be or how determined you are to only let “good” people in.

Friends are going to hurt you, co-workers, bosses, peers, family and sometimes even me. 

But the biggest hurt of all will be those you love intimately. That man or woman you love with passion,exuberance and endurance. 

You’re going to love someone who turns cold and distant and is always pushing you away. You might love someone who’s eyes wander and can never settle on yours exclusively. Sometimes the less they love you…the more awful they treat you….the more you’ll want them. 

Sweetheart, sometimes love can feel a lot like a game…like a game that you must win. And with that mindset you’ll do some ridiculous things, tactics you never felt capable of. You’ll want to be ashamed of yourself.

Don’t be.

Someday you’re going to come home, to the house in which I raised you and you’re going to throw your arms around me and bury your face in my neck. You’re going to cry, maybe even sob, and you’ll probably leave mascara stains on a new silk blouse, but I won’t care. You’re going to wonder what you’re missing, what you’re doing wrong, why you can’t make this person see how lovely you are, how much you care, how great you could be together if they would only love you like you love them. 

I know it sounds awful. 

And it is. 

I have a good reason for writing this down, for reducing myself to tears at the very thought of your pain. 

It will be worth it.

You’re going to find someone who deserves you. It might take years, several relationships, even a marriage and consequential divorce.

But you’ll find them.

They are going to be incredible. Like you.

They’ll love you like sunshine, reaching every bit of you inside and out. They’re going to laugh at your jokes and revel in your stories no matter how small. They won’t mind that you hog the bed and they will sacrifice some of the blankets so they can watch you, lovingly, all wrapped up and cozy. They’re going to memorize your favorite foods and restaurants and drinks and clothing stores and all of the things you “can’t live without”. They’re going to tell you that you’re beautiful when you get dressed up for a night out, or when you’ve just woke up, or when you’re caught right in the middle of a horrible flu bug. They’ll fill up your humidifier when you’re stuffy, they’ll scrape off your car when it snows, they’ll hold your hand (and sometimes your entire body) in their lap while you watch a scary movie. They’ll only raise their voice when it is absolutely necessary and you will never sit staring at the phone wishing they would call. You’ll never feel small in their presence, you’ll never feel like an imposition. 

Your love story is going to be epic.

I can’t wait to watch you thrive in it. 

And all of those people who didn’t deserve your love…they’re going to make you appreciate the one who does. 

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!

I am what you would call a morning person.

I wake up each morning…much earlier than is ever necessary.

I can literally hear life and all of its chores and all of its adventures whispering in my ear…telling me that I’m missing out, I’m running out of time to accomplish all of the things I want to accomplish.

Usually, this spurs me to action.

I leave my husband to sleep and I go to the gym, I start the laundry, I start a craft, I run out for coffee, I get to work early or I begin the repetitive task of cleaning every inch of my house.

This morning it was different.

My mind was working much slower than usual…there is a good chance it had something to do with the spirits I indulged in last night or the fact that it was a cool, cloudy, Sunday morning…regardless, I told life to shut up and shove it.

I rolled over and over in attempt to find a position that wouldn’t make my head pound, it was a futile attempt and when I finally gave up I found my eyes resting on my sleeping husband.

I have woken to his sleeping face for the majority of the last 5 years.

Long perfect lashes, eye brows in dissaray, lines and impressions on his face from too much time spent against a pillow and that mouth perfectly pouting as though someone in dreamland just gave him some bad news. I’ll never get tired of it. I’ll never lose the rush of pleasure that accompanies the reminder that he is mine and mine to keep. 

Those first confusing moments in the morning are my favorite. Utterly beautiful and painful, as your brain works to catch you up and remind you who you are and what your life is. All of your memories, decisions, accomplishments, mistakes, blessings, love and hurt and loss are shoved into the tiniest of moments…and you’re given another day.

Andrew and I had a terrific weekend. 

We spent most of it prepping for our Halloween party on Saturday and the remainder of it recovering from said Halloween party.

I love planning things…I really do. All week long I felt like I was on this little adventure! Of course, it helps that I have a wonderful husband who enjoys planning right along with me…and somehow manages not to get exasperated with all of my (sometimes crazy) ideas!

I wanted to add a unique element to our party this year…beyond the drinking games and usual shenanigans. Because Photo Booths are nestled comfortable in my top 10 favorite things on the planet, I decided I just had to have one of my own….because I also don’t have a spare $500 sitting around…renting one was out of the question!

So, I made my own!

I realize that Halloween has now been tossed aside and buried beneath all things Christmas…but I figure a homemade photo booth would make the perfect addition to any Holiday Party!

Find a space in your house with plenty of room and you are halfway to making your own photo booth!

Homemade Photo Booth

What you will need:

1. A backdrop:: depending on what you are celebrating this can be any number of things! It can be as cheap and simple or as expensive and intricate as you want it to be! I stuck with a black shower curtain from Target. Affordable and simple!

2. Decorations:: I bordered mine with a string of lights in purple and orange. In retrospect, I should have used more or used bigger lights! They disappeared in the flash!

3. A significant source of light:: direct light shining on the backdrop and location for photos will be best. Overhead light won’t work as well. If you have a spotlight or something similar…that’s perfect! I got creative and used a lamp! 🙂

4. Props! Since our guests arrived to the Halloween party in costumes…I used minimal props. You could have a lot of fun with this though! Imagine the cute things you could gather for a Christmas party or New Years Eve celebration?? A cute little chalkboard or homemade sign detailing what you are celebrating and the year will make for some awesome memories!

5. A camera:: I think any camera will do, I used the DSLR camera I invested in a couple of years ago, but I think if you are creative enough you could make anything work!

6. A tripod:: not a necessity but definitely handy! It allowed people to take pictures without someone having to know how to operate the camera! Plus, we all got to get in on the fun!





So much fun!!