Green makeup look for a New Year

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Are you all happy it’s 2017?  I am.  Not because I thought 2016 was the worst year ever or anything, but because a new fresh start is always a welcomed thing.  2016 taught me several things. I had moments of laughter, tears, friendships, hurt, joy.  It’s all mixed up, and I can’t separate the bad from the good.  If I wished away 2016, I’d also have to wish away those happy moments – and I dare anyone who is all gloom and doom to tell me there was absolutely nothing good about your year.  Yes, there was.  If you say no, you weren’t looking for the good.  So start 2017 off looking for the good, for the happy little moments you may have overlooked in the past.  Each year, each month, each week,… each day, really, is made up of highs and lows and some joys are worth searching for.  They’re not always so obvious, but they can be found if one is of the mindset to find them.

I don’t necessarily do “resolutions” each year, but I still kind of do – I just don’t call them that in my head, haha, so that I don’t have that mental pressure of keeping them I suppose.  (Anyone else do that?  Tell themselves whatever it is you want to work on isn’t really a resolution).  I have many many areas I want to improve on this year, but today I’ll just mention one of them – being a bit more organized.  I am naturally not an organized person.  I know some people are all about spreadsheets, schedules down to the minute, and folded socks, but that’s not me.  But I do believe being organized – whatever that looks like to you – is an important thing because it orders your life and impacts your whole outlook basically.  So since redoing my room (which has actually been amazingly simple to keep tidy – probably the longest I’ve gone so far without a huge mess that needed to be cleaned up), I have been looking at other areas I can organize.  A simple one is my makeup/beauty area.

I used to use those clear stackable small 3-drawer bins for my makeup.  I would try to organize it and make it look so pretty, but if you use mineral makeup that comes in the small round jars and try to organize it in one of these, you know that it doesn’t take long for things to get disorganized.  As soon as I took one jar out, the rest would cave in and roll around.  Before I knew it, everything was all a mess – the blush was mixed into the eye shadow, the mascara was swapped for the brushes (I know… end of the world problems, right? haha).  Enter the solution:

A few years ago, I got a beautiful jewelry armoire from my aunt and uncle and had used the sides and top for jewelry and the drawers for various things.  The drawers are flocked and some of them are divided up, which makes for the perfect solution because the dividers act as an organization system for me, and the flocking helps keep things secure and from always rolling around when something is removed.  I think an economical and easy solution for this if you don’t have an armoire would be to get shelf paper with a rubber/texturized surface – I would think that would have the same affect as the flocking.  I didn’t take a before picture, but here is a current picture of my makeup drawers (and bonus pic of my nail polish):

Makeup and beauty is definitely a fun, creative outlet for me.  I am not very artistic in the drawing/painting sense, and yet, playing with makeup makes me feel creative and artistic.

Here is a look I did recently, a green look:

Products used:

100% Pure primer (I have dry skin, but this still works amazingly; they do have one that’s not mattifying that I’d like to try sometime)

Everyday Minerals jojoba base in Ivory 1N

Honest Beauty Luminizer Powder in Midnight Reflection (under face category)

100% Pure cream eye stick liner in Black Pearl

Redeeming Beauty Minerals eye shadow in Honor

Korres shimmering shadow in Green White

100% Pure Maracuja Blackberry mascara

Silk Naturals brow gel in Medium Ash

Silk Naturals lippie in Winter Rose (discontinued) (last picture)

Hope you all are having a great start to 2017! 

How do you store your makeup?  Does it work for you organised that way?  (Some people have their makeup all mixed together in a cosmetics bag and that is organised for them – there’s no “right” way to organize!)

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways: Charise Noel Jewelry

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I’m so excited to share about this giveaway series – I’ve joined together with some other amazing bloggers and we will be having various giveaways over the next 12 days – each giveaway being open for 1 week, with the final giveaway ending on Christmas day!  Today’s giveaway is one I am super excited about because I am loving it and think so many of you will too, either for yourself or to gift to someone special in your life.

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I heard about Charise Noel from a friend, who heard about her from a friend,…  Her designs are just so pretty, classic, simple, and feminine, and I just love how easy they are to wear – no annoying tiny clasp that takes 18749 seconds to clasp.

Charise was kind enough to allow me to ask her some questions regarding her jewelry and her company:

Q: How did you get started with Charise Noel Jewelry? 

I never thought I would make jewelry as my passion and purpose in life.   Growing up I wasn’t interested in fashion.   I was interested in helping others.  However, I started making jewelry when I had both of my feet operated on at the same time and needed something to keep my hands busy since I couldn’t walk and was going crazy!  A friend gave me her tools and pearls because she thought she would make jewelry, but she found she never had the time.   As a 6th and 7th grade math and science teacher, I had put a mathematical equation together using the principals of the pulley system to eliminate the dainty clasp on delicate necklaces.  I had done this because my mom, who was a stage 4 breast cancer survivor, had lost dexterity in both hands and couldn’t wear her favorite jewelry any more.  I took the equation that I had already figured out and the tools and materials that my friend had given to me and thought I would see if my equation worked.  I sat and pieced the materials together and what I saw in my head I miraculously could make with my hands.  I made my first pearl necklace for my mom to try and the equation worked!

Q: Is there a creative process you go through to deciding what new designs are added to your collection?
Yes, I am a story teller with jewelry.  I make jewelry that is the easiest to wear and includes everyone.  The saying “the more the merrier” is a mantra for me.  I want everyone to be included in my jewelry, to find a necklace and say “this is me”.  If I have a purpose, a story, a cause, anything that is lovely and redemptive, then I get inspired from it and want to express that in my jewelry.  I draw inspiration for my jewelry designs from scripture and from people’s life stories, like my friend and actress Venda who has struggled with diabetes since childhood.  There are endless inspiring stories and causes.  I am blessed to be an artist who can portray the difficulties and hardships of life as beautiful jewelry.

I have needed a new creative perspective from time to time, like when ladies kept asking for a necklace that had charms.  And I would tell them “NO, I’m not a charm-y girl.”  I like individual charms, however when you put a cluster of charms together, it looks cluttered and makes noise . . . two things I don’t like.  So when I created my Magic line, it was my solution to the request of customers for charms.  I had to open my mind up to creating a charm necklace that I would like.  I don’t call them charms, though.  I call them Magic Endings, because they dangle off the ends but the individual endings are easily seen.  Now ladies get to collect Magic Endings that represent their favorite things in life, and I get to make a necklace that is elegant and simple.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about owning your own business? 

One word…Perseverance.  You make money and lose money, face obstacles and figure out solutions, and accept failures as graciously as you enjoy successes.  When you are building a business it can get messy.  There is no such thing as a perfectly happy story without mistakes and or tough lessons.  Although it is your own business, nobody can do it all on their own.  We need the help and support of others.  The decisions are yours and yours alone, because you have to be able to live with the outcome.  However, when there is a need, a calling, a purpose that is bigger than YOU, then you are not alone in it.  There is a need to work with others and allow God to do the impossible through you.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?

I am passionate about making jewelry that is the easiest you have ever used, regardless of your age or physical ability.  When I see a 3 year old who doesn’t know how to tie their own shoelaces, or a 93 year old with poor eyesight and trembling hands, easily put my necklace on and take it off by them self, my purpose is complete and that is success!  I just feel like screaming “SEE, YOU DID IT” but I don’t have to, because the first thing that comes out of their mouth is even more precious.  They look at me with wonder and say “I DID IT”!

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Charise sent me a Teresa Classic Beauty necklace (22″) as well as a Solitaire Magic Necklace with Magic Endings to review, and I am over the moon about them.  I have worn both, and they are so versatile.  Surprisingly, even though the Teresa has a pink/peach hue to it, it goes with so many outfits and has a beautiful mother of pearl/iridescent quality to it.  Here is the story behind the Teresa: “The Teresa necklace was designed for my Aunt who has crippling  Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) for her to wear a dainty necklace every day that she can quickly do herself.  The pink color is for joy and the coin pearls lay flat because she is dear to my heart.”  Isn’t that just lovely?  I love hearing the inspiration behind the creations – makes them more meaningful.

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The Solitaire Magic Necklace is also so very versatile.  Because of the design, it can be worn in more ways – as a simple necklace without using any Magic Endings.  Or you can put it on just like the Classic Beauty necklaces, and then attach the Magic Endings of your choice to the magnets and get such a variety of looks.  Her Magic Endings also are used in her Magic Earrings, so even more functionality and swapability there!

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Would you like to win your own Teresa Classic Beauty necklace (22″) AND a Magic Necklace with 2 sets of Magic Endings?!?! Your Magic Set will come with the Solitaire Magic Necklace plus the pearl drop Magic Endings and an angel wing with blue gray bead Magic Endings, which equals 3 different necklaces plus the Teresa (plus who says you have to wear both the pearls or both the wings together – you could do one of each for a fourth look). Just enter the giveaway below for a chance to win big!  🙂  (here are pics of the actual Teresa necklace you will win, as well as the Angel Wings Magic Endings, the Solitaire Magic Necklace by itself, and the Pearl Magic Endings.)

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Also, as if Charise hasn’t been  generous enough, she has graciously given a code – LeafyNotBeefy – that is good for 72 hours from now for 50% off everything in her shop!!!  Yes, 50% off!!  These would make great gifts!

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Updated Skin Care Routine

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I’ve been meaning to do a post about my skincare routine for awhile now, but, you know… life!  I don’t use oodles of products or long, cumbersome steps, so this will be short and easy to replicate, should you be looking to update your own skincare regimen.

Before I go on to the actual routine, I’ll give a little backstory on my skin type, again, so perhaps you can relate.  I’ve never been acne prone (thankfully), but I have had dry skin pretty much my whole life.  What do they say – dry skin gets less acne, but oily skin less wrinkles? I don’t know, but living with dry flaky skin – though nice from the little-to-no acne standpoint – still isn’t at all fun.  I’ve tried a ton of products through the years that are specifically for dry skin – even things that I use now, but without the first step in my routine, and the results had only been very minimal/temporary.  My skin is also on the sensitive side – gets red easily and can be prone to rashes.  I also have a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis – or SD for short.  I was on prescription strength shampoo in the past (I hated it, and it made my hair even drier).

Okay, so here are what is working marvelously for MY skin.  My skin has never felt softer, smoother, more hydrated, less inflamed/red.

  • Probiotics. While I think all of these steps have resulted in my overall success of what’s working for my skin, I think this first step is the ULTIMATE for me – because I have done several of the other steps without this first one in the past without these good results.  Plexus. Probio5.   Amazing stuff.  It was all a matter of finding the best dosage for my needs – I had been taking the TriPlex for several months (Slim+Probio5+Biocleanse), but was not noticing any difference in my face (I noticed plenty of other great changes, though!)  I finally decided to try upping the Probio5 (and adjusting the Biocleanse to support that increase) and bingo, within a 2-week span, my SD cleared up big time!!  So that would be my NUMBER ONE step that I can’t live without. (and I had tried other brands – more expensive brands – in the past without as good of results)
  • Drinking more water.  So important for overall health, including the health of your biggest organ- your skin!
  • Konjak sponge.  You’ve probably seen them all over the place.  Having SD, I know exfoliation is really important.  This one does a bang-up job without causing my face to turn tomato red and hurt.  It makes my skin glow.  I got mine from 100% Pure and it lasts a few months (I’d say 3-4 max per sponge)
  • Oils.  I vary between what oils I use – I often use essential oils – usually a blend that is made for the skin from Rocky Mountain Oils or Eden’s Garden or Plant Therapy, but will also use coconut oil.  These just add to the softness and my face feels nourished and happy.  Again, though, I have done the whole drinking water, exfoliating, and oils thing prior and not had lasting results, so I think the probiotics is really key in longterm skin health.

So what does my actual skincare routine look like in practice?   Pretty boring and basic – I wet my konjak sponge, use it to remove makeup and get my skin clean, then massage a drop or two of an oil over my face.  Go to bed.  In the morning, I sometimes will repeat the process (but I also sometimes forget and don’t).  I have various cleansers, toners, masks,etc, that are fun to sometimes pull out and use, but I honestly think easy and fast is the best and if it’s easy and fast I am more likely to stick with it.

What does your skincare routine look like?

Elli Quark, Micro Nail, and more

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Creative title, right?  Oh well.

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Have you guys heard of Elli Quark?  Yes, it sounds strange, quark, but it’s very similar in taste to Greek yogurt, but with less tang.  A little while ago, Elli Quark sent me a pack to try out their flavors – – – I love that they have a good variety of flavors, and I really love that they use stevia and erythritol to sweeten instead of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners.  Here is the description from their site:

Elli Quark is a spoonable FRESH CHEESE with a creamy texture similar to Greek yogurt, but with a richer, LESS SOUR taste. It also has a better protein-to-carb ratio than Greek yogurt, with HIGH PROTEIN and NO ADDED SUGARS or artificial sweeteners.

So first off, a note about shipping/packaging – everything arrived neatly packaged and nice and cold.  Now onto the flavors and my actual opinions about the quark:  I did not dislike any of them!  I had a few I thought weren’t really my particular cup of tea carton of yogurt, but there were also some definite favorites.  My 3 favorites were Strawberry, Peach, and Pineapple, with Lemon coming in 4th.  I love chocolate and desserty flavors, but I guess I prefer fruity flavors for yogurt-type things.  But the dessert ones were still good.  I used the Plain to make a recipe (below), but ate what was on my spoon.  I dislike plain Greek yogurt (I always buy plain but then sweeten with NuNaturals stevia), but this plain Elli Quark was not bad at all and I could def. get used to, and enjoy, eating this plain.

The website is also fresh and easy to navigate.  Customer service was awesome.  What’s not to love?  Oh, yeah, and if you want to try a cup of Quark for yourself, you can – a voucher for a complimentary one of your choice!

I apologize in advance for these measurements being approximate…I’ve always been an approximate measurement kind of cook and forget that that doesn’t always translate so well for others, but I’m sure however you measure or if you put your own spin on this, it will be equally as good!

Elli Quark Alfredo Sauce

1 container of plain Elli Quark

1/2 C of cottage cheese

1/4 C or so of milk (I used almond)

garlic, sea salt, black pepper to taste

a few drops of stevia to taste

1 T butter (optional)

1/4-1/2 tsp of gluccomanon powder (or 1 T all-purpose flour) to thicken

Mix everything up in a blender until smooth and then heat over medium.  Add to a package of pasta and you’ve got a really great, simple, and healthier option than most alfredo.  (I’ve made this before and after with plain Greek yogurt and it tastes just as good, however often it does curdle a bit, but still tastes good, but with the Elli Quark it doesn’t curdle.

I added Dreamfields rotini pasta and apple chicken sausage to the Elli Quark alfredo and served green beans on the side:

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If you make this, I’d love to hear what you think!  🙂

While you’re cooking your pasta or waiting on the sauce, why not give yourself an easy manicure?  No polish or stinky fumes and no mess.  The Emjoi Micro-Nail was something else that’s been on my “to review” list.  So the claim is – well here – watch for yourself:

So, what do I think?  Here are my results:

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It was easy and fun to use, so fast, and I like how it looks.  They say it lasts 2 weeks, and I would say the smoothness lasts at least that long, but I found the shine to fade before then, but when it’s so easy to do, I just use the white roller to touch up the shine a bit when needed.

*Products above were sent to me for consideration.  Like always, that fact does not impact my opinion/review whatsoever – if it’s something I love and think you will too, I will share.

Next post:  Updated beauty routine

Do you Black Friday?

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Are you a get-up-before-dawn Black Friday shopper?  I’ll admit I am not.  A few years ago, though, I experienced the madness, the craziness, and the adrenaline of others who have lost their sanity in hopes of a great deal.  I went with a few friends.  We left around 2 o’clock in the morning if memory serves me, and I was dumbfounded that people really do get up at that hour to shop!  Anyways, the time spent with my friends was enjoyable, although I can’t say I’d jump to do it again.  Black Friday shopping is fun, but it really does bring out the worst in some people…that is the part I hated.  But we had fun and had the right attitude, and that made it a little easier to endure the grumblers, the nudgers, and the I-will-run-over-you-if-you-get-in-my-way people.  🙂

So if you want to escape the long lines and want to do some online shopping, I have a few specials/deals to share:

Before doing any online shopping, I *always* check to see if the store is on Ebates.  It’s super easy, free, and who doesn’t want some cash back that can be combined with any other coupons or deals you find?  Yes, please!  [Right now, Old Navy is 10% back, JCPenny 10%, Macys 10%, Kohls 8%, and a bunch more].

Next are a few particular deals:

Plexus is having free shipping + 10% off all orders (customer and welcome packs!!) through Sunday night!  This is really a huge sale, and of course they still have their 60-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee.  If I had to pick one thing that has most changed my life in the past year, it would, without any hesitation, be Plexus.  I have never been this pain free since prior to my back injury or whatever happened to make it hurt so horribly, over 8 years ago.  Other things have taken some of the edge off the pain or worked temporarily, but it’s been 7 and a half months of at least 80% pain free days, and I haven’t even felt the need to go to the chiropractor (I do believe in chiropractors and should probably go in just to make sure everything is in alignment, but prior to Plexus, I HAD to go anywhere from once a month up to 3 times a week, and that was just to be in that not feeling normal, but at least I can function zone.  It’s helping with other areas of my health as well – I’m slowly but surely losing inches, fitting into clothes I couldn’t for quite a long time.  I only had 1 day this whole spring and summer (I don’t usually have fall allergies, but have spring/summer allergies) that I noticed my allergies acting up,… just 1 day!!  And my digestion is as good as it’s ever been.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop for now.  🙂  (Oh, and I didn’t start out with Plexus for the business side of it – I purely was hoping the products would work for me.  They have, and I’m now also really loving that all of my products are now completely paid for each month, and I get to help others improve their health and also make some side money or life-changing money from it).

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100% Pure is having a couple specials I want to share as well: $30 off first-time purchase of $60 or more.  This ends Dec.11, and is a pretty awesome deal!  Their body cream is super luxurious (and smells wonderful), and with this deal, you can get them for around $8 each!  Free shipping and free returns as well!  I also love their makeup palettes. They are also having Black Friday Mystery bags – one for nails, makeup, and hair/body, each at 40%-60% off!

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Next up are two exercise/fitness deals:

Oxycise – all their DVDs are 35% off, and all their downloads are 50% off!  This has remained at the top of my exercise list for many years and is something I always go back to no matter what other programs I try out.

Bellicon – They are having a great sale right now on all their models (I personally have, and love, the 44″ model).  I love that the legs can fold and so it can be stored out of the way if needed (though it’s also really fun looking, so you’ll probably keep it out as much as possible).  Also, right now, they are giving Bellicon owners a free year of their online be360 program – I just checked it out this morning, and it looks really great.

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I’ll be back to share some more of my favorites for Cyber Monday!

*Some links may be affiliate links; this simply means I make a small percentage if an order is placed.  Your price is still the same, and this simply helps me run this blog.

Are you an in-store black Friday shopper, online, or could care less?