Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Favorite Eye Shadow and Tutorial

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This post is for my Sister. When I was visiting her a couple weeks ago, I told her about my new favorite eye shadow palette that I love! I love it so much I would marry it.  I seriously find myself not using any other eye shadow at the moment, that is how much I love it. It is a little pricey, $50 for the full palette, but I felt it was well worth it considering you get 12 shades of shadow. It also comes with a wonderful double ended brush which would probably be worth $15 or $20 by itself, this also makes it great for travel.
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One of my Sister’s questions, and more than likely the same one you have, was, “I usually don’t buy big palette’s because you end up only using a couple of the eye shadows out of it. Do you use them all?” The answer is YES! I use each and every one of them. So, I decided to take a couple pics of my eye shadow applications to prove to you (and my Sister) how I use all of the shadow.
First, here is the full palette so you know what I am referring to when point out the colors..
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So, here we go..this is an application I did for a “daytime” look.
The first thing I did after applying an eye shadow base is to apply Foxy all over my lid, from lash line to brow. This gives a nice neutral base to start with. Then, I applied Chopper from lash line to crease, covering the whole lid in that area.
chopper
Next, I applied Busted in the crease and outer lid area..
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Then I applied Pistol along the lash line..
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Finally, I highlighted with Bootycall..
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There you go. I used 5 of the colors that day.
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Here is another application but this one is more of a “date night” look..
Just like the last time, I started with shadow base and then applied Foxy from lash line to brow.  Then, I applied Tease just in the crease..
Tease
I then applied Half-Baked just above that but did not extend to the brow..
halfbaked
Next, I applied Verve just along the lash line, inner corner and along the bottom lash line..
Verve
I then applied Blackout in the outer crease, but not super dark, I actually took a little of the shadow off of my brush before applying..
Blackout
I then highlighted the brow bone with Bootycall..
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I realize this one is a little more complicated, but that is why I save it for dates or special occasions.
 
I don’t always wear 5 or 7 different shadows on a daily basis and that is why I love this palette even more. There are plenty of ways to dress it down and only wear 1 or 2 shadows since the colors are so neutral.
I believe I used all the colors except 2, so I didn’t do too bad. But believe me, I do use Snakebite and YDK a lot!
I hope that this showcases how awesome Urban Decay Naked 2 is and I hope this proves to my Sis that it is well worth the money. I also hope that maybe you took some application ideas to use for yourself!
Happy Wednesday.
love,
Val

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rayito De Sol Martini

Sooooo…it’s Monday. Since we all love Monday so much I have decided to share another yummy cocktail recipe just to make us all feel better. I give you…

In case you are wondering, Rayito De Sol means “Little Ray of Sun” and it lives up to the name. Super easy and super yummy, this will be a go to for a night cap or great for a late morning brunch.
The ingredients:
ingredients
L to R:  Orange juice (any kind, just make sure it is pulp free), Grand Marnier Liqueur, and RumChata
In a martini shaker filled half way with ice, combine 2 oz. of orange juice, 2 oz. of RumChata, and 1 oz. of Grand Marnier. Shake well and pour into a martini glass.
Here is something fun you can do for a little something special:
In a plastic bag combine 4 heaping Tbsps. of sugar and 2 drops of orange food coloring and shake until all combined. Pour out onto a plate like so..
orange sugar
Then wet the edge of your martini glass and dip into the sugar.
I think it gives it a little “extra”, especially if you have guests over.
Rayito Del Sol 2
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Happy Monday.
love,
Val

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Great Cut and Style for White Hair

White hair is really in right now for women. I believe it has to do with the amount of female baby boomers embracing the fact that they are aging and proving that you don’t have to be “old” to have white hair. These women are also disproving the old saying that grey hair makes men look distinguished and women just look old.  In fact my opinion on white hair has absolutely nothing to do with age and everything to do with style.
Anyone can carry off white hair and I don’t care if you’re 20 or you’re 70. It’s not going to make anyone look old if they have the right cut and style and I am about to share with you one of those styles.
 
Stacked Bob 1
This is a client of mine that has beautiful white hair. This “Stacked Bob” is a timeless cut that never goes out of style. I love this style for white hair because it really let’s the hair reflect the light and show how shiny and healthy it can be. I hear so many complaints from women with white or silver hair that they think their hair looks dingy and drab. That is usually because the cut and style isn’t allowing proper light reflection off of the hair.  This cut however, does just that.
Stacked Bob 2
This cut is super easy to care for and very easy to style. In fact, I only used a blow dryer and a little volumizing gel to style her hair, no irons or brushes. It’s definitely one of my favorites and can be worn by just about anyone at any age.
I hope this proves just how stylish white hair can be.
Happy Saturday.
love,
Val

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birchbox February 2013

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I received my Birchbox for February and here are the contents..
I am changing it up just a little for this review because I have decided that I wanted a better way to express how much I like, or dislike something.  I am going to use the good old fashion grading system to rate the products; A, B, C, D, & F.
A: I love it, I can’t live without it.
B: I like it a lot. It’s a keeper.
C: It’s alright, I can take it or leave it.
D: Blah. I don’t care for it.
F: Hate it.
So without further adieu..
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Juicy Couture La La
I really liked the scent of this new fragrance. It’s on the sweet side with notes of honeysuckle and I usually don’t go for that, but it also has notes of sandalwood which I think ground it and that is why I find it appealing.
Grade:  B
 
Ojon Volume Advance Thickening Spray
I haven't had the chance to actually use this product yet, but I am going to this morning. It has a wonderful scent that reminded me of lemon drop candy. I shall see if it lives up to thickening and volumizing.
Grade: TBA
 
 
Color Club Nail Polish in Mamba
I’ll just say this..who doesn’t like a good red polish? I will wear it on my toes and it shall be glorious.
Grade: B
 
Ghirardelli Squares in Caramel
I’ve plowed through enough bags of these that I already knew how delicious they are. I ate my sample right away just to be absolutely sure that they are still as wonderful as I remember. I would hate to lead anyone down the wrong path so for the sake of mankind I gobbled it down. You’re welcome.
Grade: A
 
twistband headband.
This was a pleasant surprise because I put it in my hair and fully expected it to fall out in a few minutes. It did not fall out, in fact it I almost forgot I had it in because it was so comfortable. It’s a keeper.
Grade: B
Here is more info for you, courtesy of Birchbox..
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Happy Thursday.
love,
Val

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birthday Décor Idea

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I have been busy decorating for my Son’s birthday party. The little cowboy is turning 4! Oh be still my heart.
Chris Cowboy
I just love that little face.
When I asked him what he wanted to have for his birthday he was quite persistent that he wanted a
1. Horsey Cake
2. Boat
3. Light up pillow pet
4. Balloons
Now, I can make all of those happen, but like most Moms out there I have a little phobia of balloons. I am a little OCD about having loose balloons floating around the house for obvious safety reasons. I usually get a balloon bouquet made which keeps the boys from playing around with them too much and still looks really festive.
I was sitting around thinking of how I can decorate a little bit more festive when I came up with a plan. I spied my big metal lantern on the table and thought back to Christmas when I filled it with ornaments and a light went on in my head. Why not fill it with balloons? So, I started blowing up balloons to about the size of a soft ball and planned on filling the lantern up. Then I remembered I had these…
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Battery operated LED lights. They don’t get hot and are perfect for winding around things since they are all wire.
It worked out pretty well I think..
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We still have the balloons, but without the dangers of them floating around the house and I made myself a pretty centerpiece at the same time.
My baby loves it and that’s all that matters.
Now, I need to go cry and eat some cake and try to remember why I don’t want another baby.
Happy Tuesday.
love,
Val

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Girls Night Just Got Better: Tiramisu Martini

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On Friday I stopped into one of my favorite little gift shops right here in my neck of the woods. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have a new sponsor over on the right side of this post ---->
Rustic Charm is a fun and beautiful little gift shop that is ran by a wonderfully talented person, Lori Hutt. Lori has that knack for decorating, flower arranging, wreath making, and finding some of the neatest treasures for her shop. …and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. After work on Friday I ran by to check out all her pretty new Spring inventory and it just so happened that I was the only one there at the time, so Lori and I walked around and played with all her new stuff for a few minutes. Something Lori has carried in her store for about a year is a product line by S.A.L.T. Sisters. S.A.L.T. Sisters is a company that makes gourmet salts, sugars, rubs, herbs and more and is located in Goshen, Indiana which is just a few hours from where I am located. It’s a company that was started by a woman named Charmane Skillen and her story is quite interesting.
One of the products that Lori has started to carry is the C.A.N.E. gourmet sugars and they sound amazing! So amazing that I found myself buying one of them that is called Espresso.
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I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it, but I had faith in my abilities to find a way to consume this sugar. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and I persevered to create something really yummy, if I do say so myself. Girls night just got a whole lot better with…
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Here are the ingredients:
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From L to R: Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur , Whipped Chocolate Vodka (yes, they make this and it’s unbelievable!!), Kahlua Coffee liqueur, Rum Chata, and C.A.N.E. gourmet sugar in Espresso. Not pictured: Coffee
First I poured some sugar out onto a plate and then rimmed my martini glass by rubbing water on the edge and them dipping it into the sugar like so..
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Then I drizzled a little chocolate syrup inside the glass, but this is completely optional…but it’s oh so pretty.
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Next, I filled my martini shaker half way with ice
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and then added:
1 oz. of Kahlua
1 oz. of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
1 oz. of Rum Chata
2 oz. of room temperature coffee
Pretend your on the movie Cocktail for a few minutes and give it a shimmy-shake and then pour into your pretty glass. Then add the crowning glory…
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It’s like Chocolate Redi-Whip for adults…sooo delicious that’s it’s dangerous.
Just spray some of this on top and voila..
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Oh this is yummy. I can’t describe how good it is, but it taste like liquid tiramisu and that’s why I named it so.
I urge you to click on Rustic Charm’s sponsor link on the right side of this post and check out all Lori has to offer. I know that if you really want to try one of these products or anything else she carries, she would be happy to ship, just contact her and let her know!
I also urge you to check out S.A.L.T. Sister’s website for more info on this really neat company, just click here.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Happy Sunday.
love,
Val
 
p.s. Lori nor S.A.L.T. Sister's paid me to say this, I just really like their products!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Why This Works.


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If you know me as a hair stylist/colorist then you know that I am a pretty conservative stylist/colorist. It’s no secret that I am not a big fan of all the crazy, bright hair color that you see today.
I take that back.  I usually think there is a window that those colors are acceptable and that window is between the ages of 20 to about 25.  To me, there is nothing worse than seeing someone with funky hair color that can’t really pull it off. You have to have the “look” and the style to pull it off properly. There are very few exceptions in my opinion, but I am about to share with you one of those rare exceptions.
This is Jonna.
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Jonna is a client of mine that pretty much lets me do what I want..and of course I love her for it. 
I didn’t start out with a plan for purple hair on her head but it sort of just sprang up on me the last time I colored her hair. She sat in my chair and said the beloved words, “ I want something different, do whatever.” The stipulation she gave me was that she wanted some black in there somewhere. So I devised a plan in my head to do mostly black with a splash of funky red/violet color on the top. After I rinsed and dried her hair, I was …..disappointed. It was anti-climatic to see this red/violet color when in my head I was seeing something much more funky for her. So, I said, “ You gotta be anywhere?” She replied, “Nope.” And off I was mixing up a bright purple to smear over that “so-so” red color. 
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It turned out awesome and this time when she came in for a touch up, we both knew exactly what we were expecting.
I deem her hair style a “classy-funk" and this is
why it works
Jonna is what I call a classy person. She dresses well and is stylish. She would also roll her eyes right now at my description of her.
Jonna also has a funky side. She has a Harley Davidson and likes to have fun.
This hair color works so well for her because it showcases both of those sides of her personality.
The cut is very flattering and frames her face well, which gives it a very feminine look,but it has a spiky “punk” element in the crown which is what gives it depth of style. Great style is about balance and this cut has both spiky (hard) and fringe (soft) elements. It has balance.
Jonna has wonderful coloring to be able to pull off black hair color. Not very many people have this nor can properly pull of true black hair color. Her dark eyes and skin tone make this color work and actually is the base or “normal” part of her hair color. On most people, black would be the funkiest part of their hair color, but not on Jonna because it looks natural on her.
The purple works to bring out the funky part of her personality but also works in this style for two reasons.
1. It’s not contrasting the black hair color, it’s complimenting it. This make a huge difference in just how “funky” it comes across. In fact, in a dark room, you may not even notice she has purple in her hair, but catch her in the sun and it’s a different story. This makes her purple hair just a little bit more “acceptable” rather than just a weird pop of color.
2. Placement is the key. She has one big pop of purple that is just off center of her head and located in her part. In fact, if you look at her from the right side of her head, you would barely see the purple, like in the picture below..
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Also, it’s not running through her whole head but it’s not so little of a section that you don’t notice it. Once again, it’s a great balance.
So here are my rules for funky, bright color.
1. Know your limits. Know your personality and know if you can truly pull off something so fun and adventurous.  ….aanndd if you’re not sure, ask your stylist! You pay them good money for their opinion so utilize it.
2. Balance. If you have a sweet, cute little bob, chances are that running pink streaks through it might look a little strange. Get a style that will compliment those creative highlights.
3. Placement. Don’t color your whole head cobalt blue. Just don’t do it. A fun pop of color is much more flattering and impressive than a whole head of crazy bright hair that would make grandma’s eyes roll and pray for your soul on Sunday. You want people to say, “Look, she has some blue in her hair, isn’t it cool?!” not “Look, she looks like a Smurf puked on her head.”
Did I go too far with that one? Oh well, you get my drift.
I hope you like my version of “classy-funk”, it was so much fun to do and thank you Jonna for reluctantly letting me take your picture!
Happy Friday.
love,
Val

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Double G Mac and Cheese

Since I have been in Phoenix I have helped burp, rock, and change the diapers of 3 babies, 2 of which didn't enjoy it all that much and the other smiled and spoke gibberish the whole time. We had fun, snuggled, and partied ALL night long. Well, I didn't, but Mommy and the twins and whoever else drew the short straw partied like rock stars every two hours or so.
Since I didn't get up as much at night, you can probably guess what most of my duties fell to....I cooked and baked for 3 days. It pretty much went like this:
I asked my Sister what she wanted me to make. To which she replied with whatever she had a taste for and then I would venture to the grocery store for whatever ingredients that weren't on hand.

Some people might see this as a form of torture, but this is my form of heaven. The grocery stores in Scottsdale, AZ are not typical by any means. They have all the fun stuff and ingredients that you don't necessarily get your hands on in Illinois. Heck, the grocery store I went to even has a Starbucks inside. I could spend hours just looking through the grocery store's cool ingredients and dreaming up new things to make.

One evening my Sister asked me to make Macaroni and Cheese and since I have a really yummy recipe that I don't get to use very often, I was elated to do so. The reason I do not make it very often is because it is not a low calorie dish by any means, in fact I jokingly call it a "heart attack on a plate". I figured since she is breast feeding TWO babies and needs the extra calories, it was a great chance to use it. So, I am not telling you to eat this everyday or even once a week, but if you want something that will be a huge crowd pleaser for a carry-in or something really delicious for a special holiday, this is your recipe. I now give you...



First, let me say that this recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa because, let's face it, she's awesome. I changed a few things around and made it my own.

Cook one box of elbow macaroni until al dente by following the package directions. Don't forget to salt your pasta water! In the meantime..

Grate 12 ounces of Gruyere and 8 ounces of Gouda cheese and set aside. ..and now you probably understand the name of this recipe.


In a large sauce pan, melt 4 TBSP. of butter on medium heat. Add in a 1/2 cup of AP flour and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. This will cook the "flour" taste out of the roux you just made.

Then, slowly add in 1 quart of hot whole milk ( I heat mine in the microwave), whisking the whole time to incorporate the flour mixture and milk together until smooth. Let the whole mixture heat up and thicken a little but do not let it simmer.

Now, add in your cheese a handful at a time waiting until the previous handful melts until you add another. Stir constantly until you have a smooth cheesy sauce. At this point I taste my sauce and add salt to taste. This is very important! There's not much worse, in my opinion, than bland Mac & Cheese, Blah!

Add in your drained pasta and mix together. Put the whole mixture into a greased 9 x 13 pan and set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and mix it together with 1 1/2 cups of italian bread crumbs and sprinkle over the top of the Mac & Cheese. Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes and there you have it. So yummy, so dangerous, but oh so worth it!
Enjoy!

love,
Val

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Babies x 3

My Sister has always had to beat me at everything. She is one of the most competitive people I know by far except for my Hubby. I guess I just never realized how far she would take it, but I found out recently.

On January 22 my Sister delivered twins and simultaneously beat me on the
"birthing children" front. Which is completely fine by me. I will graciously except defeat.

This week, I could take it no longer and flew to Phoenix to see my new Niece and Nephew.

When I walked in, I was overwhelmed by which baby to hold and snuggle first, they are just too cute, so I have been switching on and off for the last 24 hours or so. Mix in there some cuddle time with my 17 month old niece and it's been heaven.

Here are some pics I took this morning of this triple threat of cuteness...





 
Happy Sunday.
love,
Val