Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ever since I started embracing #NoMakeupMonday, I have become more and more comfortable with my own skin. I try to make sure I follow my skincare routine every night to give my skin the attention it needs. But just because I'm learning to love my naked skin, doesn't mean I don't enjoy making it look flawless.

Most days, I wake up early to bring my son to school. I am around people for a total of 5 minutes when I drop him off and when I pick him up. Hardly worth getting dolled up for, but I really love when I can take a couple of minutes and a small amount of product to get myself put together. I want something simple and easy, but helps me look well rested and fresh. Something that makes it seem like I put on more makeup than I did, but really only was like three products max.

MAKE Beauty products totally fit exactly what I was looking for. MAKE Beauty is a company that never tests on animals and their products are paraben-free, which makes their products even more appealing. They also donate a percentage of sales to the We See Beauty Foundation, which supports women-led businesses in America. Great brand, great products, great ingredients AND invests their efforts into promoting women in the workplace? Um, YES PLEASE.

I was fortunate enough to be sent out two samples of their products to try out. The first was their Silk Cream Lipstick in Taffy and the second product was their Matte Finish Eyeshadow in Alabaster.

How cute are those samples!

The first thing I noticed about the Silk Cream Lipstick was how smooth it was when I applied it. It literally glides. Where other lipsticks feel dry right after being applied, this lipstick felt moisturizing. The lipstick is long lasting and this color in particular, is perfect for a simple, yet pulled together look. It has jut a bit of shimmer and is a natural shade of pink. It is made with antioxidant vitamins, rosehip, soybean and safflower oils and also has aloe and chamomile extracts that help keep the lips healthy.

When I tried on the eyeshadow, I knew it would be a perfect base color for any look I wanted to do. But what is nice about it is that is instantly brightens up my eyes when I put it on by itself. It is very pigmented, but while it shows up well on my tan skin, someone with fairer skin my find it nearly invisible. When I used it as a base color with my other eyeshadows I noticed it blended easily and was helped my eye shadow last and worked best with a natural look.
It also does not crease and it as Vitamins C and E in the ingredients to also help protect your eye area.

Here is a swatch of the Silk Cream Lipstick and of the Matte Finish Eyeshadow. The Middle swatch is applied normally and bottom is applied wet. I didn't retouch it in any way because I wanted it to be accurate as possible.

I love how simple it is to use these products to create a really quick and simple look. In this pic, I decided to use a few more products, but normally I just swipe the eyeshadow on, curl my eyelashes, apply the lipstick and dab on a bit of concealer and then head out the door.

As I look through their website, I am totally swooning over their products. You have GOT to check out their line of lip products. Nothing soothes my soul better than a good lip product.

Which product from MAKE Beauty are you dying to try?

This post is sponsored by MAKE Beauty. While, I did receive these samples for free in exchange for a review, all opinions are my own.

HOME DECOR | Florida Beach House Decor

Monday, April 11, 2016

The older I get, the more my tastes change. What interested me and inspired me years ago, isn't necessarily what inspires me now. While I still love the contrast between black and white (I don't think that will ever go away) I find myself wanting something more calming. So when I was contacted by the Florida office of global real estate firm, Douglas Elliman, to participate in this Florida Room Challenge, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to sit down and take a look at what I would love in my home.  

My bedroom has continued to be this unfinished, bore of a room. Out of sight, out of mind right?
So I chose my bedroom as the room I would love to create a decor board for. 

I have the extreme privilege of living in a place that most people only get to visit on vacation. I'm 20 minutes from my choice of beach and owning a winter coat is optional. We get to sunbathe and enjoy the warmth of the sun (while wearing sunscreen of course!) and just enjoy the best parts of living in Florida. But despite enjoying what the natural beauty around us the idea of a beach theme for my home has never appealed to me. Well, not in the traditional sense. 

To me, using the beach to inspire the decor of your home is best when it's a little more subtle. It's not necessary to cover the place with starfish and "the beach is this way" signs. You don't have to put up paintings of flip flops in the sand or fill every vase with shells. Not that anything is wrong with decorating with any of these if that is your design aesthetic, but it's just not mine. 

In this Florida Room Challenge, I decided to approach it as a more beach-inspired look, as opposed to a beach-themed room. I wanted to incorporate the varying colors of the ocean, from blue to green and to keep the design light an airy. One of my favorite things about living in Florida, is that we get to enjoy the sunshine all year round. When that sun seeps into the house and fills the home with that perfect light, it is just beyond beautiful. 

If you want a room that makes you feel like you can enjoy Florida all year long, even if you don't live in Florida, you have to capture the natural beauty that we get to experience. The light, the natural drift woods, the calming colors of the ocean. To me, this is what I have grown to love about the Sunshine State. 

I mean, look at how BEAUTIFUL these beaches are! Here are just some of the pictures I have snapped while out at one of our many beaches throughout the gulf. The sun never quits!

These pictures were taken at different beaches or on different days. The ocean always looks different from visit to visit. If we have a storm, the water is a little darker, if it has been still for many days, then the water is clearer and more blue. The colors vary from every shade of green and blue. That is what I wanted to capture in my style board. Calm, beautiful, natural, sun-inviting, simple.

There are so many ways to style your home to help bring in the beautiful of Florida. Even when you are thousands of miles away and perhaps the cold is nipping at you, you can always find away to bring some of that sunshine in doors. If you prefer a more subtle beach-inspired room, like I do, then here are a few tips to help you incorporate this style into your home.

1. Don't be too matchy-matchy. 
Don't use the same shade of color for every accent piece. Changing up the shades of blue or white, will keep it from looking like you theme is a certain color. In simple terms, coordinate, don't match.

2. Incorporate natural elements.
Think driftwood, woven textiles, live plants. They will help bring the space together and give it a more authentic beach feel.

3. Think light.
As I mentioned above, the natural light that we always have, is a major element of Florida living. Colors like white are going to help the light bounce around the room a little better. A mirror also helps the light fill the room. Choosing furniture made of drift wood or made to look like driftwood, give the room a white-washed, almost unbleached room. Trust me, this is a very Floridan thing for anything left outside to get sun-bleached.

4. Upcycle what you already have and think crafty.
While, I completely ignored having a budget while creating the look for this room, you don't have to spend a ton of money to get the same feel. Sand down any old night stands you have or give them a nice coat of paint and then distress them to give them a weathered look. Use baskets for plants that you already have around. Buying new pillows is unnecessary when you can give them a quick update by buying only pillow covers. Upcycle an old mirror with a glue gun and pieces of wood to create something similar to what is seen above. I'm totally a fan of the craft and saving money, so if you can spare the time and feel like getting down, you can save yourself a LOT of money and create a look for much less. (Not so crafty? Check out CopyCatChic to see less expensive finds of some high priced home decor!)

5. Keep it simple.
Don't overcrowd the room with more things. Keep it simple and instead use pattern to bring a room a more cohesive look. Design is in the details, but that does not mean that every inch of a place needs to be over designed. (Plus, it's also much less to dust.)

Well, I hope you liked the room! I found so many great items that I thought were so beautiful I needed to share. I was able to find some great finds on Amazon for you.
You can check them out below.

LIFE | That Post-Deployment Life

Sunday, April 3, 2016

I've been MIA for a little while but I have a good reason, I swear! MY HUSBAND IS HOME. After nearly a year of living that military-wife-life, the deployment has finally come to an end. No more parenting for 2, no more FaceTime calls, no more care packages to be sent, no more lonely nights thinking someone is breaking into the house, no more taking out the garbage (thank God), no more being the only sole cleaner of the cat's litter box. It's done. No more. I made it, I survived. It's done, finished, over, caput.

It has been a VERY long year without my husband. I was so fortunate to make some great friends who kept me occupied during the time and who understood what it was like to have your other half gone, even if they hadn't experienced anything like it. I think anyone who has had to experience a deployment would agree that the biggest part of getting through it is keeping busy.

And busy I have kept!

I took road trips, finished my bachelors degree, took my son on as many outings as possible, changed the kitchen sink, painted the whole house, cleaned out the garage, kick started my blog, started contributing for another blog, selling cards, selling more cards, selling art, decorating the house, redecorating the house, getting tattoos (well ... tattoo), binge watching television shows...

Totally busy.

I try not to complain much to the general public, but I supposed that made it seem easy to others. But honestly, this was one of the hardest things I have done. Most days were struggles, especially while I was doing school and sleeping maybe only 4 hours a night. My son wanted my attention and my husbands and sometimes that caused him to lash out at me. It meant I had to do everything alone, and trust me, as a person with pretty severe social anxiety, that was no easy feat. My husband and I argued over miscommunications and sometimes the distance and the circumstances wanted to divide us. The horror stories of "what happens on deployment, stays on deployment" try to creep into your thoughts and when you hear the real stories of what was going on, it makes it even harder to pretend these things don't exist. But they do. Relationships fail, marriages fail. In sucks, deployment sucks. In every way, shape and form, deployment sucks. Not just for the deployed service member, but for their loved ones at home.

To be able to come out on the other end feels like an accomplishment all on its own. We have been spending the time just readjusting to each others company and trying to spend as much time together as possible before he returns to his civilian job.

But as this full time reunion is coming to an end, things are starting to get back to normal. We aren't big picture takers, but we have managed to capture some of our reunion. This was my husband surprising my son. He was soooo happy to see him!

You would have thought we would have taken some pictures of all of us together, but.... we tend to live off of the Matt and Kim philosophy of "no time for cameras, we'll use our eyes instead."

And one of us. 

We got to celebrate Easter together and go to the aquarium. We have been to the movies and to the playgrounds. It has just been so nice being a family again.

This time has gone by too fast. My husband is going back to work and for a better part of the days, it's going to feel like I am alone again. But the best part is that I'm not. I'll get to see my husband home every night for dinner and we will have the weekends for fun. 

I am just SO glad, that this deployment is over. 

Hope you all had a great Easter! And that you have all been well. :)