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Special Event Makeup, #MomStyle!

Thanks to Walgreens for underwriting this post. I was paid as a member of the Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all mine. Visit http://www.discoverbeautywithin.com/.

Back in the day – before kids – I had the luxury of spending hours getting ready for special events with my friends. We’d all gather at someone’s house or a hotel room, and do our hair and makeup together, consult on attire and jewelry, drink Champagne… basically starting the party mid-day!

Now that I’m a working mom, I don’t often have that much time before a big night out. I’m either getting ready before the babysitter comes (aka, with kids hanging off me), or rushing home to get ready after dropping the kids off with my folks. Or like this past weekend, I had exactly 45 minutes between getting home from work and when the school auction started.

Here’s how I get fabulous special event makeup when I don’t have much time:

1. Start the day with a fairly neutral base. This makes it easier to add on some drama right before the event. I’m not one to go the whole day without makeup {shudder}, so keeping it neutral gives me some polish during the day, but I’m not competing with the “base” when getting ready for going out.

Emerald green on the lids and crease, with a more olivey-green added in the crease for depth. Oh, and wrinkles.

2. Play with color! I love all the advertisements for bright, colorful smokey eyes, but since I’m old not in my early 20s, I’ve never felt like that was an appropriate look for me in everyday life. But an evening out is a perfect time to play with color, and it’s high-impact! Especially with only about 5 minutes to take my look from daytime to evening, a couple swipes of bright color go a long way!

3. Stock up in advance on some fun, inexpensive eyeshadows in fun colors. I buy the crazy colors at the drug store because they are so well-priced! I can be more adventurous in choosing colors when I’m not spending an arm and a leg for each one.

Smokin' eyes! I pulled the eyeliner and shadow pretty far out beyond my actual eye to make it more dramatic for evening and pictures. A couple extra swipes of mascara finished off the look.

4. Go darker than you think you should. Most of us aren’t photographed often in our everyday lives, but at special events, everyone has their cameras out. I make everything just a little bit darker than I think I should, and it pays off in the photos. I pay particular attention to my eyes, as I think they are my best feature.

Me at the auction with my beautiful friend (and one of my running buddies!) Annie.

5. At the end of the night, absolutely positively remove all your makeup. I know people who never remove their makeup before going to bed. Do you WANT to lose your eyelashes? It’s more important than ever to remove it all when you have dark colors on unless you want to wake up looking like a raccoon with ruined pillowcases! I use Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover, which works really quickly and efficiently.

Here are a few silly pics of us (my running buddies and good friends, Annie & Mary)  in the photo booth…


Filed under Beauty

The One Where I Embarrassed Myself On “Casual Friday”

This series is brought to you by Levi’s® Curve ID. Find your custom fit at Levi’s® stores or Levi.com

It was 1995, and I was working at a PR firm. Our new client, Starbucks, had flown me and my colleague up to Seattle to participate in an extensive brainstorming workshop and “coffee school.” I was so excited, and thrilled to be included. Starbucks had regional PR firms all over the country, and about 12 of us reps were at this workshop. What an honor, right? Day three was a Friday, and our “handler” had assured us that “Casual Friday” would be in effect.

Let me remind you about fashion for a 26 year old in 1995. Friends had been on the air for a good year, and had practically become a way of life.

So yeah. I wore overalls to casual Friday at my big client. With the hotshot PR folks from New York, Chicago and Atlanta. Granted, I had a cute neck scarf – no plain t-shirt for me. But oh, the horror. Everyone was – of course! – in khakis and capris. One gal actually said to me, “Wow! You really took ‘casual’ Friday seriously!” My only consolation – which I tried to OWN, DAMNIT – was that I was the youngest person there by a few years and should be granted some fashion leeway. But my goodness, I didn’t wear denim again for years. I’m still mortified when I think about it.

I swore to err on the side of overdressed rather than underdressed from then on. And I don’t think I ever wore those overalls again! Today, even Levi’s is marketing a cute new set of overalls, but I can’t bring my self to go there. Maybe I’m just too old or too scarred to participate in that trend again.

I’m comfortable wearing denim now, but I tend style my jeans on the dressier side, even when running errands with the kids on the weekends.

My ideal jeans weekend style, whether I’m going to a movie with the kids, grocery shopping, or hosting a playdate: Dark-wash jeans, highish heels, anything other than a t-shirt, and a cashmere sweater wrap. My favorite jeans are mid-rise, straight leg with a dark wash. They are very flattering, I can wear them with anything, and I keep the hem long so I can wear them with heels. Yes, heels on the weekend. That’s what keeps my jeans from being too casual! I always aim for a pop of color, too. I’m loving tangerine lately, although I tend to choose green a LOT. Here’s my typical weekend uniform:

Style my jeans: weekends

Do you ever worry about jeans being too casual? Am I the only weirdo who is afraid of being underdressed again? I want to see how you style your jeans, and/or your best mortifying story of being inappropriately dressed!!


I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.


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Raising Caring Citizens

Thank you to Members Unite for sponsoring this post and sparking a creative discussion with children about the importance of giving. Visit MembersUnite.com for a simple, interactive, fun way to fund amazing projects every single month! 100% of your monthly contribution goes to the winning projects. I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective.

I’m so lazy! I was talking with a friend about the Roots and Shoots group that she runs – all these kids and families are learning about important issues, and raising money to do some good in the world. And planting trees. And doing beach clean-ups. And collecting food and clothes for the needy. And I realized that – sheesh, I’m such a slacker! Seriously – I want to raise good citizens who care about the world, who feel a sense of responsibility to volunteer in their community. But if it impedes on my weekend? Fagettaboutit.

I have REALLY good intentions. But I work full time, and I come home and I just want to be with my family. And do laundry. Not really, but it needs to be done. Is that so wrong?

So I was so happy to find Members Unite. It’s a really easy way to make a significant impact on the world, and the kids and I can choose projects together… on the couch, while I drink a glass of wine.


For $5 a month, the kids and I can rate projects based on what we would like to support. We just signed up, sat on the couch and looked through the nine proposed projects for this projects. We gave high ranking to helping premature babies (because who can resist a picture of a baby?) but gave the highest ranking (5 stars!) to help The Nature Conservancy plant 5,000 trees in Brazil! Each week, the projects with the most votes will advance, and the winning project each month gets $5,000. Five grand can go a long way – a lot farther than my $5 on it’s own.

Here’s why you should want to support The Nature Conservancy through Members Unite:

Today only 7 percent of the Atlantic forest in Brazil remains, much of which is in isolated fragments.

Animal and plant life of every imaginable kind live under the lush, green canopy of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. High in the treetops, golden lion tamarins forage for food while woolly spider monkeys gather fruit and nuts. Blue-winged macaws, red-tailed parrots and countless other birds call out while elusive jaguars prowl the forest floor.

This Brazilian rainforest is home to 23 species of primates and 1,180 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish. Harboring 1,000 species of birds, almost 200 of which are not found anywhere else on Earth, it is considered the most important place for bird conservation in the Western Hemisphere by the American Bird Conservancy. For millions of local people, the rainforest is critical for their livelihoods and provides clean water and hydro energy. For the rest of us, the Atlantic Forest helps regulate the atmosphere and stabilize global climate.

So why don’t you join us? There is a $25 annual membership to cover administrative costs, then you can decide how much you want to give each month, starting at just $5 a month. For a limited time, Members Unite is offering my community a 50% discount off the annual membership fee! Use code “WELOVEMOMS” when you sign up. If you join, please let me know in the comments and share which project(s) you voted for!

We’re starting here. The kids are excited about tracking the projects to see which ones make it to next week. And maybe, one of these days, I’ll actually get us out to plant some trees for real!


3/15 update: Inspired by Members Unite, I’ve applied for a scholarship to organize a community Earth Day project!

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Holiday Fabulosas

sponsoredThanks to Duncan Hines for sponsoring this post. There’s no limit to the baking possibilities, so grab your favorite Duncan Hines mix and Comstock or Wilderness fruit fillings and Bake On! www.duncanhines.com.


I am blessed with many wonderful groups of women friends. One group of gals – we call ourselves Las Fabulosas Ravenosas – get together at each others’ homes monthly for food, wine and the very best conversations.

We’ve cried together, laughed together, everything in between together. Their friendship means the world to me, and I move mountains if necessary to not miss one of our “fabbies” get togethers.

Swarovski SnowflakeI usually host in December, because I just LOVE decorating and entertaining around the holidays. The beauty of our Las Fabulosas Ravenosas gatherings is that everyone brings amazing food, so the burden isn’t solely on the hostess. This leaves me free to concentrate on building a beautiful table, selecting a few starter wines (everyone brings wine, too – did I mention that?), and preparing one or two dishes.

Our darling friend used to always be in charge of desserts. She really loved coming up with fun surprises for us, but she had to go and move to Texas. I KNOW! TEXAS! Anyway, since I’m eating healthier and exercising more, I’m taking control of the desserts this month. I really enjoy the challenge of making something decadent that won’t be too high in calories or fat for us to enjoy. Plus, it’s got to go well with Champagne!

I don’t know what I’m going to make yet, but I’m already having fun pulling out the silver and crystal. I’m looking forward to seeing my gals, enjoying some great conversation and delicious food and wine. It’s a total bonus that I won’t have to drive home!

I’d love to hear about your holiday entertaining plans, and if you have any ideas for healthy(ish) desserts for me to make!

Happy Holidays,
Check out Duncan Hines’ website www.duncanhines.com to find some great recipes for your holiday get-together. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective.

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Filed under Food, Home

Eye will try something new!

Thanks to L’Oreal for sponsoring this post on trying something new with my makeup! Check out Makeup.com for beauty advice from the experts.

I fear getting stuck in a rut with my makeup. You know how it is – when you’re in a hurry in the morning, you just quickly do what you do every day. Before you know it, you haven’t changed your makeup since 1996. Because of my silly fear of looking dated, I like to experiment – especially with eye makeup. I pay attention to ads and trends and try to copy the ones I like. Some – like Drew Barrymore’s brightly-colored smoky eyes in the Cover Girl ads – I just ignore. Do you blame me? Love ya, Drew, but no.

Maybe it’s just my obsession with Pan Am that makes me notice it, but I am IN LOVE with the subtle cat-eye makeup I’ve been seeing everywhere. The goal with this kind of look is not to have a giant wing coming off your eye, but to accentuate the upper lid in a sultry, subtle way.

I for one can’t just do eyeliner – I need a little more definition and shading on my lids than that. So here’s what I used:

I’ve long been intrigued by the HiP line of makeup colors, but was a little intimidated by the concept of “High Intensity Pigment.” Since I was looking for a good eyeliner, it seemed like a good time to try it. That little brush came with it, which was easier to use than your typical pencil eyeliner. It’s much more forgiving, and doesn’t pull on the skin.

This HiP makeup allowed me to trace the area that I wanted done, then layer on the color until it was just right.

I lined the upper lash line from the mid-eye outward, then started from the outside and swept the color in to make the "wing." Boy, my skin sure does look old and wrinkly!

Notice how far it appears to “wing” out from the side when my eye is almost closed:

I thought that looked pretty dramatic, but...

It doesn't look like much when my eyes are open!

I like this look because it’s contemporary (even though it’s inspired by the 60s!) and something new and different for me, but it’s subtle enough to not look costume-y. I think I’ll try to wing it out a little bit more next time to see how it changes when my eyes are open – since I don’t tend to walk around with half-closed lids…

What new things are trying with your makeup these days?


I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Learn more about Makeup.com or become a Facebook fan.

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Filed under Beauty

Holiday Inspirations: Help for Thanksgiving

I love how supermarkets are stepping up their game. It’s not enough anymore to have good products in an attractive environment, or to offer special deals. No, now they’re offering more to entice consumers, from recipes to mobile apps and Facebook pages that offer localized deals.

Safeway has really gone all out on their Holiday Inspirations micro site.

There are pages and pages of gorgeous photos to inspire you, with recipes, tips and tricks for maximizing your time, and even decorating and entertaining ideas. And wine pairings!

I’m always wanting help to not just get things done, but do them with style. You know, MomStyle. This site helps by offering ideas and inspiration.

This salad not only sounds like an awesome balance for the Thanksgiving meal, but it's SOOO PRETTY. Definitely adding it to the list!

I used to make something like this every year, but I sort of forgot about them. I think the kids would love making these!

Less time in the oven = More time for other things!

One feature on the Safeway Holiday Inspirations site is a their “exclusive” 2-Hour Turkey instructions. Two hours? I was just listening to a guy on NPR talking about a dry salt rub on a turkey, then roasting it at really high heat for a shorter amount of time. That goes against everything I’ve ever known or thought about roasting a turkey, but I’m anxious to try the high-heat/short-time method. I mean sheesh, if the oven doesn’t have to be tied up all day, that’s a good thing! Plus, I’m sure it’s more energy-efficient and you know I’m all for that.

The Safeway Chef Assistant mobile app walks you through the turkey process, complete with a timer. Unfortunately for my Android-using self, it’s only for iPhone & iPad for now, but I downloaded it on the iPad and I plan to use it in the kitchen. It has several shopping-help features that would be great on a smart phone while you’re actually at the store, I’ll just have to wait for the Android version!
Safeway has offered one of my readers a chance to win a $100 gift card! Aren’t we all so lucky?

{super easy Rafflecopter giveaway!}

Happy Thanksgiving,

Disclaimer: I received a gift in exchange for this post. No other compensation was received and the opinions here are my own.


Filed under Family, Food, Home

Learning to Save

This post was underwritten by BMO Harris Bank, which offers a matching $25 on a new savings account opened for your child through their Helpful Steps for Parents program. Learn more at bmoharris.com/parents.

I am not a good saver of money. I have money, I want to spend it. It’s terrible. For this reason, I have set up all kinds of automatic savings processes thereby eliminating my ability to spend my money before it goes in to savings. Some comes out of my paycheck into retirement savings, some automatically goes from checking account to savings. So how does a non-saver teach her children how to save?

Fortunately for me, my husband is much more fiscally frugal/wise/conservative than I am – so that helps.

But here’s how we are helping our kids to understand the value of money:

• Piggy banks, everywhere • The kids have several piggy banks spread throughout the house. Whenever loose change shows up, we say, “Quick! Put it in the piggy bank!” Anna is saving up for our next trip to Disney World. I’m pretty sure Eric thinks his is going towards a robot.

Make comparisons and prioritize • When we’re out shopping and the kids ask for this or that, I ask them to read the price to me. We’ve even gone over to look at the prices of milk and fruit to compare.  Getting through a grocery store with kids is hard enough, so I don’t take this much time a lot, but it does help stop the constant refrain of, “Can we buy this?”  If I’m letting them choose something to buy, we talk about the expense and how long each item might last. Anna in particular is really impressive in her ability to put off an instant gain (small toy now) for something better (Disney World) down the road.

• Counting games with coins • The kids are really in to counting things!  We like to play counting games with change, and they’re starting to get the monetary value of each one. Not that coins will be terribly important in the future – don’t you worry sometimes that coins will go away? I’m not sure why I’m nostalgic about pennies, but I am.

One of our favorite stops at the Hollywood Farmers Market

• Let them pay for some things • Especially at the Farmers Market, where we are interacting directly with the producers. There is something powerful about exchanging dollars for honey with the person who produces the honey.

Why do I go to work? • At least once a week, little Eric asks me, “Why do you have to go to work?” {my heart breaks every time!} I used to just say, “Because I have to!” But for the last several months, I’ve been answering, “So we have money for our house and for food and to go on trips!” We’ve had a couple of lengthier conversations about it, because I think it’s good to normalize the concept that we need money to do the things we have to and want to do, and that we have to work to get that money.

I never say we can’t afford something • We are not poor. We are not rich, but we are not poor. We live in a wonderful house with the most amazing neighbors, in a city we love full of trees and access to nature. We have enough food and clothes. So no, we are not poor. If the kids want to buy something and I don’t, I don’t say, “We can’t afford it.” Instead, I say, “We’re not choosing to spend our money on that right now.” I just think it’s good to manifest abundance instead of manifesting need or want!

So what do you do to help your children save and teach them the value of money? This non-saver could use some additional tips!


UPDATE: My mother-in-law wrote a guest post on this topic!
UPDATE: We made our own “piggy” banks
I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. To learn more about BMO Harris Bank, visit their website http://bmoharris.com/parents.


Filed under Family, Travel, Work