How to Make Bright Eyeshadow Wearable

   I am a die hard neutral makeup lover.  Pass me the taupes, bronzes and champagne colors any day.  But there is something kind of fresh about the occasional pop of color on the lid.   We get scared of bright colors because our mind’s eye automatically transports us to the days of big hair, scrunchies and geometric sweaters.  There is a way, however, to make bright colors totally wearable and even, dare I say it, surprisingly subtle.   I recruited my gorgeous sister in law to be my guinea pig and put this look into action.  While not all of us can have strikingly beautiful big blue eyes, the principles for rocking this look are the same.   Here are the tips that I think make bright eyeshadow modern, fresh and totally wearable!




1.  Prime your lids.  This step is crucial if you are going to wear a bright shadow.  You really want the bright color to stay focused on the center of the lid and not migrate up into the crease (a la 1980’s blue eyeshadow disaster).  I used the Bare Minerals 5-in-1 Advance Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Candlelit Peach. 

2. Surround the color with a neutral.  This is the single most important step to a more subtle take on a bright lid.  Choose a light matte shade just a bit darker than your natural skin tone.  Using a fluffy blending brush, sweep the shadow into and slightly above your crease, using wind shield wiper motions.  Add more shadow to build up the intensity in the outer half of the crease.  I used a limited edition shadow but any medium taupe shade would work (similar here).

3. Commit to a bright color.  Choose a color that works with your eyes and skin tone.  I chose a bright blue for Isabel because I thought it looked great against her tan skin and blue eyes.  I used Bare Minerals Eyecolor in Chameleon.  Next, you want to take a flat shadow brush and pack on the color.  Don’t sweep the brush over the lid.  Pat the color on gently, focusing on the center of the lid until you reach your desired intensity.

4. Keep the rest of your makeup simple.  In order to keep this makeup look modern, minimize the rest of your makeup.  Finish your eyes by tight lining the upper lash line and applying mascara.  Try the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in dark brown and your favorite mascara (I think this is totally personal preference).  Keep the rest of your face minimal by simply applying a bit of concealer and finish the look with a soft peach lip.   

5. Be confident because God made you beautiful!


The Summer Face

I thought I would mix it up a little today and tell you what I’ve been wearing on my face lately.  In the summer, I like to use as few products as possible since the heat and humidity can cause heavier makeup to slide and cake up on your face. This summer, I am totally loving the monochromatic bronzed look because it is 1) super quick 2) incredibly easy- even for a total makeup novice- and 3) is a look that is easily dressed up for evening.   Golden/ bronzy tones are flattering on every skin tone, making this look very versatile.  It simply enhances your natural look and adds a little glow in just the right places.   Here’s what I use to achieve the look, but keep in mind that you can use similar products you already own to get the same result.


I start by smoothing a tinted sunscreen all over my face.  I’m really loving the Suntegrity 5 in 1 face sunscreen in the shade light.  I can usually pick it up at Dermstore for 20% off.  It is a mineral based sunscreen with an ultra pure ingredient list. It blends in seamlessly to the skin, blurring imperfections with minimal coverage.  If you have any blemishes, redness or dark under eye circles, you can also add a touch of concealer.  I’ve been using the Duo-Phase Concealer by Christopher Drummond Beauty and really like it.  You only have to use the tiniest amount (and I’m talking pin head sized) to get full coverage.

Next, I sweep a bronzer all along my cheekbones, on my temples and along my jawline.  Currently, I’m loving the RMS buruti bronzer because it gives a natural glow to the face without that disco ball effect you can get from shimmery bronzers.  As an added bonus, all of the RMS beauty line is formulated with completely natural ingredients that are good for your skin.

For the eyes, I keep things simple with a quick sweep of gold eyeshadow, some brow enhancing and tight lining across the upper lash line.  I got a freebie eyeshadow from Bare Minerals called Summer and it is seriously the most gorgeous mix of brown and gold.  It brings the perfect amount of light to the eyes, while still managing to look natural.   I then use an ashy brown shadow (Tease from the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette)  to fill in any sparse spots in my brows.  Defining your brows is a must with a minimal makeup look because it frames the face and brings attention to the eyes.  I tight line with a soft black pencil along the upper lash line to create the illusion of fuller lashes.  This also allows me to get away with a quick curl of my eyelashes and no mascara (i.e. no raccoon eyes from heat-induced runny mascara).

I usually finish off the look with an ultra sheer balm that has a slight peachy shimmer to it.  I’ve been using Brilliant Lip Boost from Gressa Skin, which is full of natural plant oils to keep my lips hydrated in the heat.

And there you have it…an ultra flattering summer look you can achieve in less than 5 minutes with just a few products.   Thanks for indulging me and letting me rant about the beauty products I’m currently loving.  I may pop a few of these posts in now and again if you don’t mind!


My Dry Skin Saviors


   Every year, about this time, I need to start adding skin care products to my usual regimen that cater to dry skin.  Midwestern winters certainly don’t help, leaving my skin and hair in need of extra attention.  I thought I’d compile a list of a few of my current favorite products that help to keep my dry skin and hair at bay.

Overall:  I try to keep myself hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  As a mom, I find this very hard to keep up on, but my trusty Lifefactory water bottle helps me stay focused on hydrating myself.   It is super portable and available with several different caps and size options, making it easy to keep with you throughout the day.  If you don’t believe me when I say that water makes a huge difference in your skin’s appearance, check out this picture.

Hands:  My hands have been particularly dry this winter and I recently found myself combing the aisles at Target looking for something that was reasonably priced and met my criteria for natural ingredients.  I ended up with Burt’s Bees Ultimate Care Hand Cream and LOVE the stuff!  I typically find that oils do the best job of hydrating your skin, but don’t soak in well unless your skin is damp.  So, for that reason, I typically prefer a cream formula for my hands.  This hand cream does the job of intense hydration thanks to ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter and baobab oil, yet still absorbs quickly into your skin.  The scent is very mild (a huge plus for me!) and fresh.  I am so glad I found this hand cream and carry it in my purse wherever I go.

Lips: Burt’s Bees wins again here with their Tinted Lip Balm.  It’s not waxy at all and I find that it soothes and smoothes my lips while adding the most beautiful natural tint and sheenff;||ddl’gl.  You really can’t go wrong with your color selection, but my current go to is the Pink Blossom shade.  It is a wearable everyday pink that gives you the “my lips, but better” look.

Face:  I recently discovered Pai Skincare and love the list of natural and quality ingredients that they use in their products.  I picked up the Rosehip Collection: Intensive Nourishing Facial Set on sale and have really enjoyed it.  It utilizes the regenerative and hydrating power of Rosehip to improve the skin’s glow and texture.  Pai’s website describes the kit as,

     “Harnessing the power of nature’s most powerful multi-tasker, this at-home Facial treatment transforms lacklustre skin in 3 simple steps.  Renowned for its regenerative and revitalizing properties, Rosehip’s high concentration of essential Omegas restores even the most sensitive of skin to its natural radiance.  Rich in replenishing nutrients, our Rosehip BioRegenerate Face Mask deeply hydrates and conditions the skin to leave it beautifully soft and supple.  Our cult classic Rosehip BioRegenerate oil locks in moisture and promotes a clear, bright and even skin tone.”

  I use the mask once or twice a week and then alternate the oil with another oil blend I made earlier this fall.  I highly recommend!

Body: You really cannot beat the power of oils in keeping your skin hydrated and soft. My favorite is a blend I make myself and you can find the recipe here.  When I don’t have this available or I’m too lazy to make it, straight coconut oil does the trick too.

Hair:  I mentioned in a recent post how much I love Argan Oil, and I continue to be amazed at what it does for my hair.  Just a couple of drops makes it noticeably softer and more manageable.  You can also use the tiniest amount rubbed in between your hands to tame those flyaways that the dry winter air brings out.

And there you have it!  What works for your dry skin?

One Ingredient Wonders

Recently, a friend suggested I start posting more about my secret obsession (not so secret anymore!) with natural skin and body care.  The more I read about the harmful chemicals and preservatives we put in our skincare, the more I obsess about finding natural alternatives.  The good news is that often you don’t have to look much further than your kitchen to find ingredients that really work and that are good for your skin, hair and body.  Everyone’s body is different so what works for one person doesn’t always work for the next, but here are a few of the single ingredient items I keep stashed in my bathroom.

Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:  Is there anything this oil doesn’t do?  I absolutely love it as an all over body moisturizer, and perhaps my favorite use for it is as an eye makeup remover.   More effective than anything else I have tried, coconut oil is excellent at dissolving even waterproof makeup.  As a bonus, it adds extra moisture to your eyes and it smells delicious!
Organic Raw Honey:  Honey is antimicrobial and moisturizing so it makes a great cleanser.  Ideally, you should rinse or wipe your makeup off and then gently massage the honey into your skin.  You can let it sit for a few minutes or immediately wipe it off with a warm wet wash cloth.   It is important to get raw organic honey because pasteurization kills all of the good bacteria in the honey.
Argan Oil:  I had heard a bunch of hype about the wonders of this oil for your skin and hair, and even bought a bottle of argan hair oil, only to be unimpressed by the fact that the oil was heavily diluted with fillers.  The key is to get pure argan oil that has not been diluted by any fillers.  It’s not cheap, but it will last you forever.   I am in love with what it does to my hair.  I drop 4-5 drops (less is more) in my hand and warm it in between my fingers.  I then massage it into my hair, concentrating on the ends.  It leaves my hair so much softer and less frizzy than it normally is.  I also use it on my curly headed little peanut and it adds definition and softness to her curls.   I also use this as the base for the face oil I am using currently.  It’s a great choice for your face because it won’t clog your pores and absorbs quickly.
Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar: Great for restoring the Ph balance to your skin and hair.  In the summer, when my hair tends to be a bit oilier, I like to use it as a clarifying hair rinse.  You can also use it as a toner for your skin by applying a few drops to a makeup pad and diluting it with water.  Make sure that the vinegar you use is raw with the mother still in it because that is where all the good nourishing tidbits are.
There you have it! Have you tried any of these ingredients?  What do you think?  Also, I’d love to hear what you all think of these types of posts.  Do you want to see more of them?

Summer Sunscreen Edition

The weather (at least in the Midwest) is finally getting warm, which means the girls and I are outside as much as possible so we can get our Vitamin D fix before the never ending Midwest winter sets in.  Being the fair skinned gals that we are, sunscreen is a must.  The problem is that many of the commercial sunscreens on the market are full of chemicals and preservatives that are terrible for your body and some of them have even been linked to cancer (ahhh the irony).   Luckily, there are some options out there that are safe for both you and your kiddos and also provide fabulous sun protection!

I have a couple of favorites that we’ll look at below, but first I thought we should look at the ingredients I avoid when looking for the right sunscreen for me and my kids.  If you want more info take a look at the EWG Sunscreen Database.

  • Parabens: This is a nasty little preservative that has been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption.
  • Oxybenzone and Octinoxate:   These are the main active ingredients in many commercial sunscreens.  They are appealing because they go on without leaving any white film and also work well in the popular spray sunscreens on the market.   However, they are linked to hormone disruption, endometriosis, and reproductive abnormalities.  A safer alternative is titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

There are plenty of sunscreens on the market that are healthy alternatives, but here are a couple that I use on myself and/or my kids.


  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Unscented Sunscreen –  I love this sunscreen because it leaves almost no white residue that is common with zinc oxide sunscreens.  It has a fairly runny consistency so it rubs in easily and is great for both kids and adults.  It’s also water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which is a bonus for all you pool goers.
  • Badger All Season Face Stick-  There are just a few ingredients in this face stick and most of them are organic so I feel good about using this on my kids.  I’ll admit that it does leave a slight white film, but it’s perfect for my fair skinned little peanut.
  • Alba Botanica Very Emollient Facial Sunscreen:  This is my go to facial sunscreen because it is non-oily and rubs in easily.
  • All Terrain KidSport Spray:  This is probably my favorite brand for my kids.  They have several formulations, but this spray version is awesome because it is super easy to apply and is very water/sweat resistant .

You can buy all of these sunscreens at Vitacost and I’ve also seen several at Whole Foods.  These are all just suggestions so be sure to explore and find the ones you like best for yourself!

Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm Review

Burt’s Bees recently came out with some tinted lip balms and I’d heard good things so I decided to try it for myself.   I grabbed the Tiger Lily color, which is a beautiful orangey peach color.  I’ve been using it for several weeks now and it has made it’s way into my regular rotation of lip products.


The lip balm comes in a range of shades including caramel daisy, sweet violet, rose, petunia, blush orchid, hibiscus, honeysuckle, tiger lily, pink blossom and red dahlia.  The coverage is extremely sheer (at least with the tiger lily color), to the point where I tried to swatch it on my arm for you all and it was hardly visible.  It does, however, give my lips a beautiful sheen with just the slightest hint of color.  I wonder if the darker shades would be a bit more pigmented?

I also love how hydrating these lip balms are.  The ingredient list is pretty clean and my lips feel soft and smooth after each use.  I would definitely purchase again in some of their other shades. This would be a great product for the summer months for and easy yet polished lip.

You can buy Burt’s Bees Tinted Lip Balm from most drugstores or from Ulta for $6.99.

Ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olus (vegetable oil, huile vegetale), cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, candelilla cera (euphorbia cerifera wax, cire de candelilla), helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, aroma (flavor)*, lanolin, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, cananga odorata flower wax, jasminum officinale (jasmine) flower wax, ammonium glycyrrhizinate, tocopherol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil (huile de colza). May contain: alumina, CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), CI 75470 (carmine), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (iron oxides). *natural flavor

My Very Favorite Moisturizer

    I had my first child back in 2010 and while I was pregnant, I started looking at the ingredient list on my product bottles and thought, “Uhhh…what is this stuff?  Ethyl-para-what???”   There had to be something better I could rub into my expanding belly without all these ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.  So, I grabbed a bunch of different oils and started experimenting.   This recipe has sort of evolved over the last few years and I now have two versions: a body butter (ideal for pregnant bellies or seriously dry skin) and body oil (ideal for the rest of us).  Today I’ll share the body oil version, because seriously, you will love it.  I think its the perfect blend of nourishing oils that soaks into your skin quickly without leaving a greasy residue.  Winter usually leaves my legs looking like some sort of scaly swamp animal, but this stuff really does the trick.  I apply it right after I hop out of the shower and the next day my legs are still soft and smooth.  It’s also a great shaving oil and eye make-up remover. I’m pretty sure you need to try this for yourself!

Ok, here’s what you’ll need for an 8oz bottle:
  • 4 oz grapeseed oil
  • 1 oz coconut oil
  • 1 oz almond oil
  • 1 oz plant butter such as cocoa, shea or mango
  • 1 oz jojoba oil
  • a few drops of vitamin e oil (optional, but great as a natural preservative).
  • 10-15 drops of an essential oil of your choosing (optional– I usually opt for the unscented version).
Melt coconut oil and plant butter in a double boiler.  Mix in the rest of the ingredients and pour into an 8 oz container.