Top 10: Gifts for Her 2017

Raise your hand if you are finished with all of your Christmas shopping this year! I mean, I am not jumping out of my seat with enthusiasm or anything, but I am definitely doing the more subtle one finger “acknowledge me” gesture over here. I think I have maybe 3 gift cards left to scoop up, and then lots of wrapping. I told myself that I was not going to get carried away with wrapping gifts to perfection this year, but I am like 8 rolls of paper deep into things. I cannot, and will not, be helped. Even if you are not even close to being finished with your shopping this season, that’s okay! In fact, good, because now you can take advantage of some of the gift ideas here! I have rounded up 10 of my favorite gifts for her in this post. There is something for everyone, and, oh yeah, everything is 40$ or less!!

1. Sugarfina Champagne Bears Cocktail Kit, 25$

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This cute little kit by Sugarfina contains everything you need to make 2 champagne cocktails, including a small batch of elderberry syrup,  0.5 oz jigger, bar spoon, linen coaster, and Sugarfina champagne gummy bears. More of a rose fan? Got ya covered! There is also a rose cocktail kit, which you can pick up at Nordstrom, http://www.nordstrom.com.

 

2. “Susie’s Senior Dogs” by Erin Stanton, $13

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The title says it all! What animal lover would not love a copy of this sweet find?! Just as the title implies, this is a coffee table-type book full of portraits of elderly dogs and their heartwarming stories. Pick one up at your favorite bookstore, like bn.com.

 

3. Bite Beauty Multi-Stick, $24

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These guys are great! It’s a multi-use product, in stick applicator form, that you can use on your eyes, cheeks, and lips, to create endless, effortless looks. The sheer wash of color makes it beautiful on all skin tones, and there are a variety of shades to choose from. Check them out at Sephora or http://www.bitebeauty.com/

 

4. MOMA History of Art Umbrella, $40

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This find just makes my artsy heart happy as a bird with a french fry! How cool are the doodles depicting renowned artist’s styles?! I love that it is both fun and chic at the same time, while definitely giving a nod to art history and appreciation. You can pick one up online at the Museum of Modern Art’s online store, http://www.store.moma.com.

 

5. Adidas Studio Duffel Bag, 35$

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Even if you are not a regular gym attendee, or let’s say you don’t go at all, this bag is great for everything. Weekend bag, diaper bag, whatever your heart so desires. The black metallic material is so pretty, and you cannot beat the quality that Adidas brings to the table! Check out Macy’s or http://www.adidas.com for more info.

 

6. What Do You Meme? Adult party game, $30

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7. Soap & Glory Full Sparks Gift Set, 10$

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Soap & Glory has the best gift sets out this year, so I had a hard time picking just one to recommend! The Full Sparks set comes with the Righteous Shimmer Body Lotion and a mini Sext Motherpucker lip gloss. For 10 of the dollars, you can’t beat it. All of their sets are quite reasonably priced, so go ahead and hit up Target and pick up a couple. I approve!

 

8. Urban Outfitters Faux Fur Mules, 15$

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When I was first looking at these guys (instantly obsessed… I have the pool slides) they were listed as 29$, so they are on awesome sale as of right now. They come in either black or beige and feature the fluffy faux fur body with rubber sole and rounded toe. You can pick up a pair at http://www.urbanoutfitters.com.

 

9. I Dew Care- Let’s Get Sheet Faced 14 Day Mask Set, 25$

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Who doesn’t love a good sheet mask?! Seriously, I want names. This set by I Dew Care offers 2 weeks worth of the best hydrating and brightening sheet masks. Bonus, how cute are these little packages?! Visit Urban Outfitters to shop this find.

 

10. Dog Trinket Dish, 14$

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Anthropologie’s home goods always have me like whoa. So many cute, handcrafted finds. These little dog trinket dishes are too adorable! They come in the blue and the white, as pictured above, and I honestly cannot decide which is cuter! You can pick them up at http://www.anthropologie.com, and while you are there be sure to check out some of the other amazing artisan finds! Gift opportunities galore!

I hope if you were stuck on a gift or two that this little curation sent a little insp your way! I would also love to hear what some of your favorite gift picks for the season are, so drop them in the comments!! Hope everyone is having a blessed holiday season!! xo

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Royal Wedding 2.0

Who else was smitten to wake up to confirmation of Prince Harry’s royal engagement to Meghan Markle?! I joke that I felt it way before I saw it. It has been rumored for some time, but the official Clarence House announcement and engagement photo call took place earlier today.

 

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Harry + Meghan hosted a photo call at Kensington Palace just hours after the news of their engagement broke. The photo call took place in the palace’s Sunken Gardens, which are a living tribute to Princess Di. The couple were absolutely beaming upon arrival!

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PS, I need that white trench that Meghan was wearing. Paired with her nude pumps and black dress underneath … perfection. Yeah, yeah, Harry looked alright too.

I don’t know if anyone else remembers from when Will proposed to Kate, but that famous blue sapphire ring was actually left unto Harry, who graciously passed it on to Will some years ago. It was nice to see that Harry was able to incorporate his mother into Meghan’s ring, which he designed himself, along with Cleave and Company, court jewelers to Her Majesty The Queen.  It is comprised of diamonds from one of her brooches, as well as another from Botswana. It really is quite beautiful.

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When it comes to picking a gal to wife up, Harry and Will have certainly aced their picks. Kate and Meghan are perfect people, absolutely perfect. Another royal baby for Kate + Will, and now another royal wedding coming this spring for Harry + Meghan. Be right back, moving to London.

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Jenna Dewan-Tatum: Barely There.

I did not tune into the AMA’s over the weekend for fear I would have been disappointed, and judging by the red carpet photos I may have been right. There is definitely a lot of unique, signature style out there, that’s for sure. When I saw this photo of Jenna Dewan-Tatum I was a ball of smitten-jelly-goals whilst wearing my leggings and sports bra. Sidenote: why are so many so quick to Mom shame her lately?! Hello, no. She has never come across media as anything more than an amazing mama, and who thinks it is acceptable to fault her for having one of the sickest bodies out there; she’s earned that you guys, do not hate!

Back to the point of it all, how uh-mazing does girl look in this shear here, there, and everywhere gown by Julien MacDonald?!

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Jenna is literally a goddess on the red carpet, as per usual. This is probably the sheerest gown on the planet that just happens to provide adequate coverage where it counts. The plunging neck line and thigh high slit add to the sensual vibe, while the all over metallic sparkle and sweeping patterned train bring the glamour and eye candy. The intricate embellishment of the gown in its entirety deserves an applause, as does Jenna in general.

One of her biggest accessories of the evening is her perfect, glowing complexion, which is contented by her pink tinged cheeks and lips. Her short me locks got a beach wave treatment, and her minimal approach to jewelry made the look all the more showstopping at a glance.

 

Who do you want to shout out as best dressed on this year’s AMA red carpet??

Kelsea Ballerini: Midas Touches

Okay, who else watched the CMA’s last week?? I didn’t think I was going to get as into it as I did. The performances were surprisingly, maybe not so surprisingly, moving and I loved watching all of Carrie Underwood’s dress changes throughout the night. Aside from CU’s curated gown greatness, I was in love with this custom Michael Kors gown that Kelsea Ballerini wore:ABC's Coverage Of The 51th Annual CMA Awards

The floor-sweeping fitted gown was dazzling with all-over gold floral embellishments. The cut out bodice paired with the long sleeves to create a modern, yet, feminine silhouette that is super flattering.

Kelsea’s glamour inspired waved featured a golden David Yurman hairpiece that perfectly complemented the gown. Her golden smoky eye was a KB signature, and paired beautifully with her red carpet look. The “golden girl” vibes definitely carried throughout the night as she performed alongside Reba McIntire in a soft pleated metallic gold number:

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Kelsea never disappoints on the red carpet, and I can only imagine what she will have in store for her upcoming wedding! Who wore your favorite look on the CMA red carpet?? ✨

Top 5: Emmy’s Red Carpet 2017

The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards took place last Sunday, and as per usual Hollywood’s best arrives dressed to impress for the big night. From classic to on trend, here are my 5 favorite looks from the evening:

 

1. Julianne Hough in Marchesa

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The flowing black tulle and signature Marchesa floral details are romantic and sheer in all the right places. The soft pink embellishments are in complementary contrast to the tulle, and cascade in feathery feminine touches.

 

 

2. Halston Sage in Zac Posen

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The details are key when appreciating the beauty of this white Zac Posen gown. The all-over texture, cinched waist, and off-the-shoulder draping work together to create quite the visual stunner.

 

 

3. Jessica Biel in Ralph & Russo

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The darling of this gown on Jessica is everything! The plunging neckline and thigh-high slit are sultry yet chic, and the soft peach set with the silver sequin gives the perfect contrast to make this such a beautiful look. I loved Jessica on “The Sinner”, and even though the finale fell a bit flat for me, it was such a great limited series!

 

 

4. Leslie Jones in Christian Siriano

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Why are more people not talking about how incredible Leslie looked in this amazing gown?! Christian Siriano never disappoints, and it’s clear why he has ultimately become a fave of the star. The sparkling black mixed with sheer elements is artfully and masterfully constructed, providing great visual impact. Leslie looks so statuesque and on trend; I love it! Sidenote: If you are a “Game if Thrones” fan and haven’t caught any of her commentary, then you are truly missing out.

 

 

5. Susan Kelechi Watson in Cristina Ottaviano

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The “This is Us” star looked glamorously chic in this metallic champagne gown. The off-the-shoulder number featured a textured, swirling bodice detail and transitioned into a more sheer material with corresponding metallic details. Susan accessorized with a pair of chandelier earrings and evening shoes by Aldo. Who else is excited for the “This is Us” season two premiere on Tuesday?!

I would love to hear who you thought was best dressed last weekend. Let me know your picks in the comments. Who do you think will be ruling the red carpet this awards season?!

Top 3: Jennifer Lawrence’s Mother! Press Tour

I love me some J.Law! I mean, I can’t remember a time I didn’t love this lady, so I am always excited to see her on the red carpet. She recently did a press tour for her new film, Mother!, and looked as stunning as ever. I’ve picked my top 3 favorite looks to share, and I’m sure you’ll agree they are absolutely crush-worthy.

1. Sally LaPointe separates at a TIFF press conference.

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I am all the heart eyes loving the vibe of these separates. The crop top and high-waisted trouser complement each other on J.Law’s lean figure, and that pattern is absolutely amazing. Delicate jewelry and a tousled center part do round out the ensemble.

 

2. NYC Film Premiere in Dior

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Are you picking up all the Romantic bohemian goddess vibes lady is putting down?! I am obsessed with soft tulle and chiffon skirts right now; I love the movement and texture they give off visually. The wrapping of the bodice here is very Grecian, and J.Law adds a bonus romantic goddess touch with the flowers pinned into her hair. 

 

3. Atelier Versace at the U.K. Premiere

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Holy Smokes! (does anyone even still say that?!), the details of this sheer gown are insane in the most amazing of ways! The intricacy of the webbed effect is so beautiful aesthetically, and Jennifer looks so statuesque and edgy-chic in it. The smokier eye makeup and perfectly imperfect upstyle completes the look on point.

Did you have a favorite look?! Jennifer and her team always knock it out of the park and they know it. The film was released in theaters yesterday and the husband and I have a day date tomorrow to see it. Anyone else planning on seeing it on the big screen? I think I’m equally excited about m&m’s and a concession cherry coke 😉✌🏻

Congratulations Kate!


I was working on a blog post about our week at the beach, but I had to put a hault on that to give a shout-out to my should-be-best-friend Kate Middleton since Kensington Palace announced she was pregnant with her third child.

This was the last photo taken of Kate in public before the pregnancy announcement came.

 

The Duchess is reportedly less than 12 weeks pregnant, but was compelled to make the announcement when she was too sick to attend a scheduled event. Of course, everyone is already floating the idea of twins and placing odds on names. For a girl the top picks are Alice, Elizabeth, and Victoria; for a boy, James, Arthur, and Phillip. Either way, I know I am excited for the new royal baby!! Kate always has such impeccable maternity style (and style in general), even when she’s feeling unwell, so I’m going to love to see what she wears this go round!

Congratulations Kate + Will!! Cheers!!

Kelsea Ballerini: Seeing Red

We are only a good two days into our beach vacay, but an incoming storm has put a damper on our plans for the next day or so. To pass the time I thought I would scroll through all of the red carpet looks from last night’s VMA’s since I wasn’t into actually watching the awards this year (this mean I’m getting old?!!). I was hoping to see some beautiful and spectacular pieces, but what did I see?  Nothing impressive, ugh. Then, like a little saving grace of fashionable proportions, I came across this photo of Kelsea Ballerini from this past Wednesday’s ACM Honors in Nashville:


I do not normally gravitate towards red, but this gown by Dennis Basso was just so chic and beautiful that I had to take notice. It’s no secret that Kelsea is one of my faves on the red carpet; I’m a huge fan of her overall style, and this is a great example why. She leans towards more feminine tailored pieces with special details and embellishments, that always come across either dreamy, on trend, or both.

I love both the silhouette and ankle grazing length of this look, especially paired with the plunging neckline and it’s floral embellishments. The thigh-high front slit elevates the trend level of the overall look, and her matching red heels and minimal jewelry tie everything together for a successful styling. 🌹

Review: Marc Jacobs Eye-conic Palette

Who doesn’t love a good palette?! I was so excited to receive this complimentary Eye-Conic Multi-Finish Eyeshadow Palette by Marc Jacobs Beauty; even more excited when I opened up the box to see that I had been gifted the Glambition palette (one of the six palette options), which is packed with shades of bare and bronze, from soft champagne to deep brick.

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Each palette contains 7 shades with 4 distinct finishes including velvet (soft + matte), satin (shimmer), silk (sparkling), and lame (metallic), allowing for endless looks when you layer and blend to customize. All of the shadows have a buttery soft feel, which is definitely attribute to the eye for style held by the Marc Jacobs brand. Marc, himself, is known for his meticulous style, often making last minute adjustments before he sends a look down the runway, and these palettes were inspired by textiles and layering such as you would see in a runway show.

Long-lasting and buildable are a few key words I need to throw out there. I always recommend a primer with any eye look, but even on their own these shadows hold up with minimal creasing. They are also buildable, so you can apply a subtle wash of color to your lid or layer on the pigment for a more dramatic impact. Along with being buildable, these colors are also blendable, which is so important when creating seamless custom looks. I’ve swatched the colors in this palette, just so you get an idea of the payout they give with just one swipe. Just look at how deep and rich that darkest brown is, and how beautiful that champagne shade would also be as a highlight:

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Something else that I thought was such a special detail with these palettes is that when you read the color names from left to right you get a little poem: “She was infamous; known for seeking the most over the top glamour”. I mean, how unique is that! I need to actually go back and read what each palette says now.

The eye-conic palette retails for 49$, so it’s right in line with other prestige brands, and you can shop them at marcjacobsbeauty.com, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, and Net-A-Porter. I can’t wait to transition this palette from summer to fall as the colors are so timeless and versatile. Have you tried any of the eye-conic palettes? If not, what palettes are you loving right now??
#TheDressedEye #contest @influenster @MarcBeauty

Let’s Talk About: Mentoring

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This post has been floating around in my mind for some time, mostly inspired by my own experiences over the years. I think seeking out a mentor when you are first setting out in a particular field is one of the most beneficial things you can do. It’s almost like a shortcut to success because you are learning  tips and tricks and skills from a trusted individual in your given field. Notice that I say “trusted”. Please, vet the person you choose as a mentor.When I first started in makeup artistry some ten years ago I thought that having a mentor was the greatest thing in the world. I thought it was going to be a chance to develop a relationship with someone in my field who would not only teach me and guide me through the process, but who would also inspire me and motivate me to excel. It didn’t quite work out like that.

My father had passed away about a week before I began my first interaction with my first “mentor”, so I would like to look back and think that maybe my judgement was clouded as my emotions were still all over the place. I was approached on a site for artistic professionals about assisting on a small local shoot. The makeup artist had a great portfolio for the time, and seemed genuinely invested in bringing up another artist on a path to success. I made it through my first session with her, taking notes and being as hands on as she would let me. I left feeling good about the direction things were going in, and was increasingly becoming excited about future opportunities. Shortly after our first meeting she offered me to assist on a more involved shoot, and although extremely nervous, I was also excited to continue learning from someone who seemed so influential and artistic. I showed up and was not greeted warmly at all. It was like every first impression was out the window. I was basically bossed around the entire day, and belittled in front of the photographer and clients for my lack of skills. Keep in mind, this was only my second encounter with someone who was professionally involved in the field I wanted to be a part of.

When we left that day, the “mentor” tossed me a 20$ bill and said she would be in touch. I never heard from her again, except for a random email basically calling me a terrible person and saying she wished me well, but was sure I would never amount to anything. I was devastated. It’s was like being broken up with and not given the closure. I was so defeated, I has no self-esteem, and I was beginning to think that everything was a mistake as far as my place in the industry was concerned. I decided that I didn’t want to pursue another mentor, (did I mention that this lady also told me on set that she didn’t love what she did, she just knew she was good at it and it paid the bills), I instead took to YouTube, books, and every other tool I could get my hands on to learn and refine my skills. I practiced and practiced and practiced on anyone that would let me. One day I received a message from a local photographer who said I was referred to her by the photographer that ran that very first photo shoot I ever attended. I took the job she was offering me, and although my nerves were immensely on edge, the makeup for my first session with her was a hit. I wasn’t the failure I was made to feel I was destined to be. I developed such an amazing relationship with this photographer. I honed all of my skills, worked with a variety of clients, and even learned about photography.

Eventually I was getting calls from personal clients for bridal consultations, homecomings, and other photo shoot opportunities; thus, my business continued to grow and I was becoming a known name in the area. It was such a good feeling to be recognized. Come to find out, that “mentor” that didn’t treat me so hot in the beginning was still telling others that I wasn’t a quality artist, and those photographers were telling me in turn. It’s sad to think that sort of thing happened, but it does, especially in creative industries like this. Luckily, my quality work and personality have made a name for themselves, and I was showcased on theknot.com, so it wasn’t a huge blow to my self-confidence after all. When you find your tribe of creative kindred spirits you know it, and you hold on to them, and, believe me, things work out! Turns out that this “mentor” has left a bad taste with several people of various capacities in this industry, but who am I to say anything.

I have also had the opportunity to step into the shoes as a mentor, so I already knew what kind of person I wanted to be in that role since I had the experience that I did. I always made sure to sit down and have an actual conversation with potential mentees before actual getting them into a hands-on situation. I wanted to know what they already knew, what they needed help with, where their skills currently were, and so on. I have had mentees decide that this was not an arena for them after all, and I have had those who I have brought on jobs with me, and who are currently working for themselves, whether they credit me or not. You don’t get to pick and choose what people go and do with the time and training you invest in someone, but you do get to decide if you want to be in a mentoring position to begin with. If you can’t be supportive, motivating, and helpful then maybe being a mentor isn’t for you. If you enjoy teaching, inspiring, and helping to build the future of your given field then I encourage you to consider being open to such an opportunity.

I know I am referring to all of this from a creative standpoint with the makeup artist industry, but it crosses over into every field of business out there, as far as the mentoring relationship goes. If you are going to be a mentor you need to commit the time to get to know who you are working with and be willing to pass along your knowledge and expertise to help them grow. If you want to be mentored, be a mentee, you need to be committed to preparing for the experience and taking action when it’s required of you. You need to be prepared for constructive criticism and all the ups and downs of the learning process as you learn and grow. There needs to be trust on both ends of the relationship or you won’t be making the most of the opportunity. When you are mentoring someone you want them to feel stronger and more knowledgeable because of the time with you, so, likewise as a mentee, you want to walk away from the experience feeling hopeful, capable, and empowered.

Having grown my professional network as such, I still have people I can message with questions, or who can message me. The lines of communication are open, and we aren’t cutting each other down to get ahead. That’s not the kind of person I want to be. I value the trust and honesty of these relationships. Some of the people I work with have become such good friends. We’ve seen each other through weddings, babies, and what have you. Only you can decided if the community you’re in is a good fit. If you aren’t comfortable reaching out then maybe it’s best to reevaluate your situation and see if you can graduate to a niche that fits you best. Maybe it’s just me, but I want everyone to succeed when they put in the work.

I also want to add that learning is not conclusive. You don’t just reach a point and say, well, I’m done, there’s nothing left to know. I have found myself, to this day, entering into new ventures where I am recruiting some of my trusted friends to serve as a mentor to me. I value their experience and success and know that they can teach me something that will only better me. I have no problem asking them for help, and that’s the thing; you cannot be afraid to ask for help. I much rather have someone trusted guide me through a situation than to brave it on my own without the proper knowledge. If you are passionate about something, but maybe aren’t as skilled as you would like to be/need to be, then reach out to someone.  Reach out to several someones! Invest in yourself and be open to learning and working hard, and you will go places. I look back and see how far I have come and it blows my mind sometimes. Don’t let one “no” hold you back from the hundreds of “yes’s” that are waiting for you.

If you have an experience as a mentor or mentee and would like to share, please do so in the comments!! I wish you all lots of success and happiness. Let’s be good to each other!!