Life has gotten a little sweeter since welcoming our little bundle of puppy joy into the family. Aidan has definitely been keeping me on my toes and away from the keyboard! He just loves playing fetch, teething on his chew toys (and sometimes fingers), and with the consistent NY snow storms the past few weeks, loves bolting back & forth and running around and around in the wet snow. But my cuddle bug is getting big FAST (as you can see in this photo – I’m under there somewhere!).

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My most recent accomplishment was graduating from Esthetics & Makeup School a week ago – woo! It took 4 ½ months to complete the program, but I’m telling you, it went by in a flash! Now, it’s time to full steam ahead focus on business & brand building and I am ready to move & shake! My very own Sweet Little Nugget lipstick line launched on Monday! It’s been in the works for a while and I am just so excited to present to you “A Sweet Collection” – a collection of 6 moisturizing, Paraben Free lipsticks that contain Vitamin E, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Shea Butter and Avocado Oil. These puppies are beyond bright and have some serious staying power that won’t feather or fade – a must try!

Recently, I was contacted by a gal I used to work with years ago about a product line that she started working with. The concept sounded interesting and the website was super cute – safe to say I was onboard! Perfectly Posh is a fun, new pampering product line that offers a variety of products that can and will specifically target your needs. Along with the samples, I was sent an extensive list of possible skin concerns, which I naturally loved since it’s so incredibly organized and easy-to-navigate. This brand literally has something for EVERYONE!  Taking a look at some of the product shots, I couldn’t help but notice how over-the-top adorable the packaging is AND to top it off, the products inside are just awesome. Here are my top 3 favorite of the bunch:

Moisture 911: A light, daily moisturizer loaded with caffeine for tightening &moisture911 brightening, and best of all, it works best with Acne-prone skin types. This moisturizer felt super light and fresh on the skin. I felt refreshed after using it and I loved how quickly and well it absorbed into my skin. It didn’t leave a sticky / greasy residue. To use: Apply generously to face & neck 1 to 2 times daily on clean, freshly washed skin. ($15 USD)

Big Fat Yummy Hand Crème Berrly Behaving: A creamy and nourishing non-greasy hand crème that adds butters and vitamins to tired, dry, hard-working hands without leaving them bfyhcfeeling oily. This hand crème had a fantastically amazing scent that absorbed quickly into skin without leaving me feeling greasy. My hands felt nourished, moisturized and restored. I loved, loved, loved the black pepperberry scent so much that I need to have this in my handbag at all times! To use: Apply generously as needed to hands, fingers, and wrists as needed. Rub in thoroughly. ($9 USD)

The Tree Hugger D-Tox Scrub : An aggressive, natural, deep cleansing detox scrub featuring sea salts, strawberry seeds, coconut shreds, and a detoxifying blend of soothing essential oils. This product is meant for stretch marks and since I don’t have any (yet) I tried the scrub on my arms in the tree-hugger-comboshower to get a feel for its texture and overall benefits. On top of a new, freshly revealed layer of skin, the strong scents of strawberry & coconut satisfied my nostrils for sure. To use: Use in shower or bath. Apply generously to skin and massage for a deep cleansing scrub. Rinse thoroughly and pat skin dry with towel. Moisturize generously. Not recommended for face or other areas of sensitive skin. Use weekly. ($22 USD)

Want to experience the amazingness of Perfectly Posh too? Here’s how! Contact my girl Danielle via email (dconway917@gmail.com) or phone 845.304.6854 any time. You can also visit her website directly: http://perfectlyposh.us/POSHDANI

Happy Shopping!

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A LIFE CHANGING challenge that I will be participating in myself 🙂 I urge all of my sweet little nuggets to sign up and take a minute each day to post a picture, description + ‪#‎100happydays‬ of what makes them happy each day! I guarantee you’ll see your life through a brand new set of positive eyeballs.

Let’s do this!

Ready. Set. GO.
http://100happydays.com/

It’s been an incredibly exciting holiday season to say the least. Spent a lot of time with the family and made even more memories together right into 2014! We were certainly busy little bees! Truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I genuinely LOVE a packed schedule 🙂 Most notably, we welcomed the arrival of our newest family member, a Golden Retriever named Aidan <3 Look how precious this little guy is… I just can’t!

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1520609_10203162414127752_1075449250_n1012245_10203200882169429_1949409186_nIMG_20140105_165914And with so many things going on at once, my blog posting has slowed down significantly and I am so sorry about that! But since I had done a number of holiday makeup applications, I wanted to write about the brushes that have been oh, so good to me – Real Techniques by Sam & Nic Chapman High-Tech Makeup Brushes. These puppies (no pun intended, well, kind of…) are just phenomenal! The quality, variety and overall inexpensive cost of both the 61EG3RrpO2Lindividual brushes + sets is rare (price varies depending on which brush or set you go with). I have used MAC brushes & tried out Sigma brushes (both are revered as top-notch tools in the beauty industry) and they do live up to their reputation. However, if you are just starting out as a makeup artist, or want some Grade-A brushes to use for your everyday makeup application, then these are the ones to check out. I have seen them sold in Harmon Face Values, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s, Target and of course, directly via the Real Techniques website (link above). I am in love with these brushes for two major reasons: the no-shed bristles & the way that product transfers onto the skin and blends in effortlessly. You can actually feel how sturdy and well-made these aluminum brushes are when working with them. And since I’m all about cute & ultra girly things – I just adore the multi-colored brush handles throughout the line…pinks and purples and golds…oh my!

These are a few of my favorite things…

1) my very first Real Techniques purchase: The Starter Set

Why I love this one – a wonderful eye starter kit that includes 5 brushes + a stand-up case. You’re given every type of brush needed to dress up those peepers. Only $18 USD – can you believe it?!

  • Base shadow brush (I also use for applying concealer)
  • Deluxe crease brush
  • Accent brush (for highlighting, and smudging)
  • Eyeliner brush
  • Brow brush

2) perfect set for flawless foundation – Core Collection

Why I love this one – The brushes you use truly are the difference between a great makeup application and an absolutely incredible makeup application. With this set of 4 brushes + stand-up case, you are guaranteed to get great coverage and a flawless looking finish. Ever since purchasing this set (also only $18 USD) I’ve been using it on all of my clients. The proof is in the pudding – skin tone comes out extremely even and they just have that extra “glow.”

  • Detailer brush (use to conceal hard to get to spots)
  • Pointed foundation brush (best when used with liquid foundation)
  • Buffing brush (best when used with powder and / or mineral foundation)
  • Contour brush (my favorite brush in the pack – I use this when I do a heavier highlight/contour look)

3) one amazing brush for your base / foundation – Expert Face Brush

Why I love this one – this brush ($9 USD) is super firm and great for anyone who loves the ultimate coverage. This one works best when used with cream, cream-to-powder, and liquid foundation. This brush can also be used in applying contour cream on various points of the face (check out exactly where in my highlighted & contoured complexions blog post), however, I don’t recommend blending it all out with this brush. To blend, I suggest using the Real Techniques kabuki brush instead.

4) the BEST blush brush

Why I love this one – one of the final steps in my makeup application is blush. And this brush ($9 USD) is the best tool to get the job done! I pop it into the appropriate product and lightly touch it to the cheek. I then move my hand in an upward, sweeping motion toward the hairline following the natural curve of the cheekbone. Repeat on each side as many times as needed to achieve that natural rosy-glow you’re looking for.

These girls are the queens of ‘how-to’ videos and I love watching their work. Take a look at their blog to experience it for yourself. Once you get your hands on one of their amazing brushes, I promise, you’ll be totally hooked & love the way you look!

xoxo

 

7e59ed5260e3a3172c74bcbff09fa55cA very special merry christmas to all my sweet little nuggets who celebrate! I can’t tell you enough of how blessed I feel and appreciative I am to have all of my family, friends, and loyal fans in my life <3 Hands down, this has been THE BEST Christmas I’ve ever had and I have A LOT of people to thank. As I reflect back on the past year… it seems as though it has gone by in a FLASH, but A TON has happened in even just 6 short months! Life’s journey is incredible to me and I find genuine satisfaction in enjoying the moments as they come 🙂 I am especially grateful & thankful for the opportunity to spend time with the people I love most, while always keeping in mind those I love, but cannot physically be with.

And a monster-sized thank you to all my sweet little nuggets – you keep me going.. following those dreams and reaching for those stars! xox

PS – I think I was a good girl this year! (a clinique even better skincare gift set, a brand new makeup rolley bag & a temptu professional airbrush system! ahh!)

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Have you seen dozens of Pinterest photos and makeup artist tutorials all focused on heavy Highlighting And Contouring lately – also knowf0b4e2051ecf8879526146a849ee58d6n as “HAC-ing?” My interest on the subject was peaked and I found myself gravitating to those crazy face charts that show you stroke by stroke where to place product. And so my research began and my mission to find the best of the best in highlighting and contouring products became clear.

Luckily, for me, I found a recommendation via the beauty blog universe for the Hourglass Illume crème-to-powder bronzer/highlighter duo in ‘Bronze Light’ ($40 USD and available in one other color – ‘Sunset’) and I must say, this product lives up to all of the rave reviews! s1074459-main-heroThe Hourglass palette glides on at first with a creamy consistency and fully dries as a powder. The wonderful thing about this product is that you truly have control. You can give yourself a soft & subtle contour to enhance your natural features, or you can definitely add ‘drama’ to the face by layering on additional contour crème (very Kim Kardashian-esque). It’s your look, have fun with it and experiment… that’s what makeup is all about, right?! To assist you in placing both the contour & highlighting crème, I recommend checking out one of the helpful face charts on my Pinterest Beauty Board and pinning it to reference for later use or you can even search a chart via Google images if you don’t have a Pinterest account. You’ll be a happy camper when you have a picture showing you exactly where to put those contour lines, trust me 😉 The best brush to use to draw your lines is a contour brush (approximately $6 USD), and I find it best to use a kabuki brush ($6 USD) when it’s time to blend it all out at the end.

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I’ve come across clients that prefer a basic bronzer, without all that drastic highlighting & contouring, yet are looking for just a touch of a sun-kissed glow. I was pleasantly surprised while shopping at Kohl’s to make use of my ‘Kohl’s Cash’ before it expired, when I came across 2 new beauty brands that I had never seen in that store before – Lorac & Cargo Cosmetics. What the what!?! Naturally, I spent an extra 45 minutes in the store checking out everything they had to offer. One product that caught my eye was their extremely EXTRA LARGE Cargo The Big Bronzer Compact ($34 USD). cargo-the-big-bronzerI was on the hunt for a new & improved bronzer and this one fit the bill. With a cute starburst design etched into the product, and a delicious, bronzy color that can’t be matched… I decided to purchase it on the spot and I am really glad I did. I’ve used it myself many times and it just breathes a little life into my skin during these drab winter months. I am paste-y pale and this product gives me that extra pop I’ve been longing for since the summer sun disappeared. This product can be layered on as well, however, a little bit goes a long way. It’s highly pigmented, so it doesn’t take much to give you that glow you’re looking for. Feel free to follow the same face charts as suggested above so you can see where to place the bronzing powder too 🙂

Highlighting And Contouring is a specific type of look that takes some serious practice and you will become a pro at it in no time! As they say, practice makes perfect! I am still learning and cannot wait to see how much you begin to fall in love with beauty’s best “kind-of” kept secret of contouring & highlighting!

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I originally had another blog post to put up this week. However, after my experience last night at my wedding makeup trial – I just had to share with all of my sweet little nuggets my amazing experience!

About a month or two ago I began researching potential makeup artists for my wedding next year. As a makeup artist (in training) myself, I already know that I’m pretty picky when it comes to my own face. And especially on my own wedding day… yea, I needed to book the BEST of the BEST! Many recommendations and suggestions were thrown my way by close friends and family – all of which were great and worth checking out for sure! A friend from beauty school is a model (also was my makeup competition model back in October – just LOVE her!) and she mentioned a makeup artist that does makeup application on her for many photo shoots. I decided to inquire and booked an appointment with Lindsey. As we all do, I ‘stalked’ a bit and started following her on instagram (@reygal19) to view some more of her incredible work. I was really looking forward to this wedding makeup trial appointment and couldn’t get there fast enough last night. So much so, that I ended up being 30 minutes early – eager much!? I walk in and the ambience of the hair shop her nook is located in is just gorgeous. From the decor to the friendly faces that greeted me at the door – I just felt right at home. That warm, fuzzy feeling really goes far with me 🙂

I already knew I trusted Lindsey and the look she had in mind for me. What I didn’t realize is how well I would get along with her. Not only is she a real talent, she is sweet & funny to boot! I really enjoyed myself at The Makeup Nook in Blauvelt, NY. It didn’t take long for me to shoot over that confirmation email to Lindsey that I want her to be my makeup artist for my special day! And I feel so lucky and honored to have such a talent by my side for my wedding.

Lindsey’s talents stretch further than photo shoots and wedding day makeup… she can literally do it all and get you lookin’ pretty for any occasion in no time! Contact her via her BRAND NEW and ULTRA GIRLY website www.themakeupnook.com. You can also ‘LIKE’ her The Makeup Nook company Facebook page to get updates and notifications on her incredible work!

And here are just a couple of glam shots from our wedding trial last night:

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0Well before I began studying to become a licensed esthetician, I followed a beauty regimen that I (to this day) am obsessed with and recommend to all family members & friends – microdermabrasion. The formal definition = a cosmetic treatment in which the face and neck are sprayed with exfoliant crystals to remove dead epidermal cells … sounds kinda cool, huh? IT IS – truly!  And this little treatment has been the *key* to my confidence for years. As mentioned in an earlier post on love: the selfish kind… my college years were not the highlight of my life. Poor nutrition, lack of sleep, stress from tests etc etc were all contributing factors to my less than stellar complexion throughout those years. After graduation, I was left with discoloration, uneven skin tone and superficial acne scarring – what was a girl to do?!

A guy friend of mine at the time had similar concerns to my own. He suggested that I look into microdermabrasion since it had helped to smooth out his skin and significantly reduce the appearance of dark marks from acne scarring. He regained his confidence from the treatment and felt comfortable recommending it to me. With that, I began my research and found a local esthetician within a plastic surgeon’s office. Not to worry, my little nuggets, you can get the treatment done at a spa, massage therapy salon or even at your dermatologist’s office – just ask! I bet you’re wondering why I LOVE it so much? I’m happy to tell you exactly why, and it’s quite simple:

  • Skin is VISIBLY smoother, feels even softer & the best part… when applying makeup, it looks absolutely flawless
  • Dark marks from acne scars are significantly reduced and / or totally gone (caveat = most of my scars are complete goners, however, I do still have a few very light traces here & there
  • My skin tone is much more even
  • The younger you start microderm, the sooner you begin anti-aging ‘prevention’ which is wonderful news for those premature fine lines & wrinkles 😉
  • I’ve never felt more confident than I do now, and THAT makes it WORTH IT

Every time I schedule a microdermabrasion appointment, I book a series of 6. You will get the best results doing 6 separate sessions, 7 to 10 days apart. Many estheticians incorporate a full European Facial with the microdermabrasion treatment, which is equivalent to approximately 1 full hour. The cost of this service varies widely depending on 1) the establishment you choose to go to 2) the number of sessions you decide to purchase.

Let me suggest talking to your esthetician about purchasing the appropriate home care products for your skin type after you receive the treatment. This is one of the most important things you’ll do during your appointment being that the routine you follow at home accounts for 80% of the condition of your skin. Sure, it’s great to pay for fabulous skincare treatments, however, if you aren’t actually following a regimen that’s catered to your specific skin care needs, then you really aren’t getting the maximum benefit of the procedure.

Remember – the skin is our body’s largest organ and it is imperative that we take care of it as much as humanely possible. It’s the only true ‘home’ we have – be kind to it. Keep calm & microderm on.

You deserve a new you for the upcoming new year.  Treat yourself to a retreat filled with rest, relaxation and some serious rejuvenation! Check out these super helpful spa tips from a resort that KNOWS how to help you find an oasis in every corner of the world – Marriott! Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned spa-goer, these tips are guaranteed to benefit you on your next trip to the spa!

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I am blessed to have the support, unconditional love, and generosity of both family and friends and don’t feel that I could ever repay them fully for everything they do. However, I do make it a point to show my gratitude and appreciation toward the most important people in my life each and every day. Today, especially, I would like to give a BIG, HUGE, UNIVERSE-SIZED THANK YOU to these very special people who give me an incredible amount of fulfillment and a reason to keep moving forward in this wonderful life. I love all of you so, so much!

  • My fiancé & step-son
  • My mother, father, brother and pup
  • My gramsies & granddad
  • My aunt, uncle & cousins
  • My (soon to be) mother-in-law, father-in-law & brother-in-law
  • All of my bridesmaids & groomsmen
  • My classmates & coaches
  • Past co-workers who have become friends
  • and OF COURSE, my sweet little nuggets who read this blog regularly and show me constant love & support <3

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DSC_3762Welcome to the LOFT Grand Opening Event!

DSC_3803Official ribbon cutting ceremony in front of LOFT at The Shops at Nanuet for their Grand Opening!

DSC_4059There I am… and that sign! The host of the LOFT Grand Opening Event 🙂

DSC_3844The girls just mingling & shopping.

DSC_4087The LOFT girls taking a break for a quick pic!

DSC_3985Giving our gorgeous mini makeovers to our LOFT guests <3

DSC_4004My girls stopped by to support me.. and fit in a little shopping too!

DSC_3831One of my many ‘blogger picks’ – LOVE this scarf!