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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Zombify Yourself for Halloween!

Happy Halloween! This is such a fun holiday. Because I love makeup, it’s the time of year when I can take things to the extreme. If you love playing around with makeup and need a last minute costume idea, let me show you how I turned myself into a zombie last Halloween.

In terms of clothes, the options are really limitless. You could find something at a thrift store—you could dirty up the items or cut holes in them. I went for a flannel dress with some ripped up black leggings. 

Warning: You might scare small children. I again apologize to Amanda's niece!

Now, onto the makeup…

All you’ll need is some cream makeup in various colors (white, gray, black, red, green, purple), regular liquid foundation, makeup sponges, makeup brushes, tweezers, toilet paper (yep!), fake blood, liquid latex and a hair dryer. The cream makeup and liquid latex could be found at any Halloween superstore, like Party City. Just a warning—when you buy supplies at a Halloween store they are most likely going to be of low quality. They will still work, but the cream makeup will be a little difficult to work with and the liquid latex may be too thin. The fake blood from superstores is usually way too thin and doesn’t stay put. If you want to do the zombie look right, try buying your supplies in advance from a good special effects store online like or

As you can see, I used some lower quality products and they dried out!

Here’s how to achieve some really cool zombie gashes and wounds:
  1. Plan out where you want your wounds and how large you want them to be. 
  2. Tear a few pieces of toilet from the roll and pull them apart so they are only one-ply. Set them aside. 
  3. Start by applying a thin layer of liquid latex with a makeup sponge (DO NOT use your makeup brushes) where you want your wound. Before it dries, take a one-ply piece of toilet paper and press it on the latex. If this doesn’t cover the entire surface of the latex, grab another piece and cover the rest. Tear off the excess around the edges and discard them. Use your hair dryer for a few seconds to dry out the area a bit.
  4. Add another layer of latex on top of where you just applied the first piece of toilet paper. Immediately take another piece of toilet paper, press it on top and tear off the excess. This time when you apply, don’t apply it perfectly, try to wrinkle it up a bit so it doesn’t lay perfectly flat against your skin. You’re going for open wounds here—you don’t want it to look nice and smooth. Use your hair dryer again to dry it out.
  5. Add a third layer (I’d recommend a fourth layer if you have the time). Again use your hair dryer to dry the area.
  6. Repeat this same process everywhere that you want a wound to appear. Just a warning—if you place a wound somewhere on your body that has hair (like your arm), it WILL hurt when you remove everything at the end of the night. I learned this the hard way. 
  7. Once you are finished placing all your fake wounds, it’s time for makeup. The first thing you'll want to do is darken up your eyelids and area around your eyes. You can use some regular black, dark purple and dark brown eyeshadows for this.
  8. Then mix your regular liquid foundation with some white cream makeup. The goal is to pale out your skin to give yourself a gaunt look. Make sure to apply this on your neck, chest and arms if they are exposed. It’s important to cover anywhere you placed your fake wounds.
  9. Next, mix some gray and green cream makeup. Use a sponge to blend a bit into your skin. This will help make you look sickly. Make sure to cover your fake wounds. Do the same with a blend of purple and gray cream makeup, but this time only add a little to your fake wounds. This will help create a bruised effect only in those areas.
  10. Now it’s time for the fun part. Use a pair of tweezers to gently start picking at the center of the layers of toilet paper and latex. You want to create a small hole. Once you’ve done that, make the hole bigger with your fingers and tear off a bit from the center so that the edges are jutting forward. Do this for all fake wounds.
  11. Now it’s time to bring those wounds to life. Using a small makeup brush (eyeshadow brushes are ideal), take some red cream makeup and color your skin inside the fake wounds. Using a separate brush, take a little black cream makeup and color on top of the red cream makeup you just applied. You want it to look very dark red.
  12. Add some fake blood around the edges of all the wounds and at the edges of your mouth.

And you’re done!

A few more fun tricks: 
  • Apply several layers of liquid latex to your skin (making sure to let each layer dry first). Pick little holes in the latex with a pair of tweezers to create an effect like the skin is decaying and tiny pieces are falling off. And of course, use makeup to color the area. This effect could also be used to make the skin look like it has been severely burned.
  • If you do very thin lines of liquid latex on your skin and build them up to be nice and thick, you will achieve the look of raised scars, which can also look very cool for your zombie costume.
  • Don’t want to go through all the trouble of creating your own zombie wounds? Just buy some pre-made gashes at your local Halloween superstore, secure them to your body with liquid latex and add some fake blood. All done! This method is a lot quicker, but I think the DIY method looks more authentic.

Did you go for a zombie look this Halloween? Share in the comments!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Amanda's October Birchbox

1. Harvey Prince Eau Flirt in Lavender Pumpkin

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: It takes a lot of moxie to actually wink at someone. We’d rather let our scent do the flirting. This sweetly mischievous fragrance channels our inner girly girl with a combination of fresh florals and warm spices. You’ll want to pair this one with your most confident outfit.

My Review: The perfume did smell good but I didn't feel extra flirty when I put it on (can a perfume even do that?) I wouldn't shell out the $98 to buy a bottle but did enjoy the sample.

2. theBalm® cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: If being too gorgeous were a crime, this luminizing powder would turn us all into serial offenders. Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but can you blame us? This three-in-one highlighter, eyeshadow, and all-over shimmer is the prettiest honey-hued pigment we’ve ever laid our eyes on. We wear it when we want to sport a unified look that plays up our best features (think model-esque cheekbones and alluring eyes).

My Review: This product confused me when I first opened it. It looked like a shimmery eyeshadow but the directions said to apply on cheekbones and on other areas of my face that I wanted highlighted. It worked great as a eyeshadow and eye luminizer but not so much for my cheeks.

3. Mox Botanicals Lip Butter

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: This artisanal lip balm is the best thing to come out of Oregon since Portlandia. Free of artificial ingredients, it’s made with shea butter, jojoba, and other natural hydrators. We love the dense, smooth texture and the sweet Pomegranate & Fig flavor (a Birchbox exclusive!). Plus, the indie cool design of its recyclable MIRON glass container will look right at home with all our sleek finds.

My Review: I love that it's free of artificial ingredients and is all natural. I wasn't blown away by the product but since it's free of all the nasty chemicals it earns an extra star. I'm happy to have this for the upcoming winter months!

4. Mighty Leaf Tea - Tea Pouches

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: Tea snobs love these hand-picked whole leaf blends from Mighty Leaf. Each satchel is cleverly marked with its caffeine content and correct brewing time, so you can make the perfect cup every time. In addition to being major taste bud treats, the teas are made with the best natural ingredients and are full of antioxidants. Each blend of organic tea leaves, dried fruits, and spices is neatly packed into a silken biodegradable pouch.

My Review: I love tea so I was very excited to get these in my box this month. I've actually tried this brand before and really like the flavor combinations. Well done, Birchbox!

5. LiQWd The Perfect Wave

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: Pro surfers can paddle circles around us, but we’ve got them beat when it comes to beachy waves. LiQWd’s styling cream lets us get effortlessly tousled locks without getting anywhere near the ocean. Infused with high-tech ingredients, the lightweight formula adds tons of texture and body, even if your locks are naturally straight. It contains a blend of moisturizing oils and extracts revive damaged locks, as well as an intoxicating floral scent.

My Review: It did enhance my natural waves a bit but not as much as I would have liked. My hair was also frizzier than normal and I had to use a lot of smoothing serum to tame it. I wouldn't buy this product.

6. LiQWd SiLK Professional Deep Conditioning Treatment

According to the Birchbox Breakdown: We always thought of quinoa as a healthy lunch staple, but LiQWd’s lavish hair treatment is putting the super grain to a whole new use. This nourishing deep conditioner uses quinoa proteins to smooth stubborn tangles and guard against heat damage. A touch of grape and pomegranate seed oils hydrate dry strands, lending them silkiness and shine.

My Review: I really liked this deep conditioner. My hair has been so dry because of the dropping temps outside and needed some extra TLC. My hair was smooth and silky soft. It never got greasy and made my hair easier to blow dry and straighten. I really liked this product! Who knew that quinoa could also be good for your hair!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Misleading Magazine Headlines

Women's Health Magazine
  • Flat Sexy Abs!
  • Burn Tons of Calories With One Simple Move
  • Shed Two Sizes!
  • Flat Belly Foods – Lose Weight While You Eat
  • Lose Your Belly!
  • Shed 1 Size in Two Weeks

Sound familiar? If you read any health or women’s interest magazine, it’s almost a given that you’ve seen headlines like these. 

I really like reading health and women’s interest magazines, but I have a big problem with these headlines. They’re just clever marketing. The headlines contain buzz words or phrases, like “flat belly,” “lose” and “shed,” designed to excite and stimulate readers enough that they’ll want to buy the magazine. 

I’m not saying that the tips or exercises found in magazines don’t work, but I want to caution you to change your expectations when you read the information found in these magazines. It bothers me that these magazines make losing weight, eating healthy and getting in shape so simple. The truth is—it’s NOT as easy as the magazines make it seem. 

Here are a few buzz words and things to watch out for:

Headlines that talk about exercises to flatten your belly: If you’ve done your research, you know that ab exercises are NOT going to flatten your stomach. In fact, you can’t target the areas on your body that you want to lose weight. We can’t control where we gain or lose weight. If a magazine headline is promising targeted results, just remember that it’s another way to sell and play off common insecurities that women have about their stomachs, arms, hips, thighs—you name it. Flattening your stomach and tightening up your body involves a combination of healthy eating, cardio and weight lifting/exercises.

Headlines that talk about losing weight/toning up in a short amount of time: Magazines might offer some really great advice to lose weight, build muscle or tone your body, but it’s so frustrating when they claim that this can be done in as little as one or two weeks. Anyone who has had tried to reach a health or fitness goal knows that it takes time. Touting that you can drop a dress size in just one week is yet another marketing tactic used by magazines to get you to buy. People want ways to reach their goals quickly and easily. But remember that quick and easy are not always possible—reaching health and fitness goals depend on so many factors.

Headlines that talk about one simple exercise or diet change: This is yet another headline that plays on the desire to quickly and easily accomplish a health or fitness goal. Making one change in your life—whether it’s eliminating an unhealthy food you usually eat or incorporating one more exercise into your routine—can absolutely help you reach your goals, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket. One modification won’t magically change your life. It’s really about discovering the things that work for you and putting them all together.

The bottom line: some magazines really do offer some good advice about working out and eating healthy. Use the techniques that work for you and more importantly have realistic expectations about the information you’re consuming. Do your research and don’t get sucked into all the hype!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fashion: Patterned & Colored Tights

Now that it's getting colder out I've had to be more creative on how I can still wear my skirts, shorts and dresses into the fall and winter seasons. Colored and patterned tights are back again and I couldn't be more excited. My mom bought me a pair of purple ones last year that I love to wear. I also purchased a pair of black polka dot ones that are perfect with my black shorts. I feel sassy when I wear them. It's time to stock up on some more pairs for this season.

1. H&M Cable-knit tights- $9.95
2. H&M 80 Denier Tights - $5.95
3. Nordstrom 'Best Present' Tights - $15
4. Frenchi® 'Dot' Tights - $14
5. Urban Outfitters Embellished Jewel Tight - $18 or 2 for $20
6. Forever 21 20 Denier Floral Tights - $6.80
7. DKNY Pinstripe Lace Tights - $20
9. Pretty Polly Suspender Tights - $25
10. Kensie Crazy Crisscross Tights - $22

What do you think of this trend? Do you own any patterned or colored tights?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Adrianne's October Birchbox

I was so excited about my October Birchbox when I first opened it up! This month, Birchbox partnered with -- a source for lifestyle inspiration.

Here's what I received:

Kiehl's Aromatic Blends: Orange Flower & Lychee - Liquid Body Wash
Joanna Vargas Daily Serum 
Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss 
LUNA Fiber Chocolate Raspberry 
 essie® fall picks Nail Polish Collection

1. Kiehl's Aromatic Blends: Orange Flower & Lychee - Liquid Body Wash: Though I haven't tried many products from Kiehl's line, I did test out their Dark Spot Corrector (two-part review found here and here) earlier this year and loved it. So, I was excited to be able to try this sample. This body wash has a very faint, but really pleasant citrus scent and it foams up nicely. Though the consistency is liquid/gel, I found that this body wash wasn't drying on my skin. Usually I stick to thicker, creamier body washes because I have dry skin (especially this time of year) but this Kiehl's body wash was a hit for me. There's no sulfate in this product--so I'm guessing that's why!

2. Joanna Vargas Daily Serum: I've never tried a Joanna Vargas skincare product before, and that's part of why I signed up for Birchbox -- I love trying new things out. The serum is natural and contains vitamins, A, C and E to help prevent against wrinkles and lift away any dark spots or discoloration. The product also has hyaluronic acid, which is supposed to seal in moisture on the skin. The serum is very light and melts into the skin to provide some really good moisture -- perfect for cool and dry weather.

3. Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss: Another brand I've never tried! This Naked Princess gloss is part of a collection of eight barely there lip glosses. The glosses are designed to subtly plump lips without all the irritation and to add high-intensity shine. This lip gloss was really light and not too sticky and provided a really neutral shine to my lips. 

4. LUNA Fiber Chocolate Raspberry: This LUNA fiber bar tasted okay, but the consistency was more cake-like and not like a typical granola or power bar. Because of the texture it was pretty dry and I couldn't get through the mini sample without have some water to wash it all down. 

5. Essie® fall picks Nail Polish Collection: I am a huge fan of Essie nail polishes, but I was a little disappointed with this particular one. The color is a lovely deep matte gray, but I had a hard time with the application. The polish was very thin, making it look streaky as I applied. It took me three coats, as opposed to the usual two I do with Essie polishes, to get full coverage on my nails. Even with coat number two, I could still see some streaks. Aside from the issues with the formula, the shade is a perfect neutral for fall, winter or both.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Beauty: 5 Tips to Battle a Bad Hair Day

Truth be told, I'm not a morning person. I sleep as long as I can before dragging myself out of bed, quickly doing my hair and makeup, eating breakfast and running out the door to get to work. I often shower the night before to save time but my hair can be really interesting looking after sleeping on it wet all night. Here are some of my go to fixes when I'm not having the best hair day. 

1. I wet my bangs and front of my hair and quickly use a large round brush and blow dry it back to life. You'd be amazed what just 3 minutes under a little heat will do to your hair.

2. Using a 1 and 1/2 inch curling iron I go through random pieces of hair and curl it to create a tossed wavy look. I take care NOT to make it neat so that it looks a little unruly on purpose. Add a little hair spray and some shine serum and I'm good to go. 

3. I don't wash my hair every day to preserve some of the natural oils that are good for my scalp but after a day or two you can start to notice. I spray my bangs and scalp with dry shampoo and let sit for two minutes before combing out. It gives my hair volume and takes away any unwanted greasy look.


4. If I'm out of dry shampoo baby powder also works wonders. I know, you must think I'm crazy but I swear it works! Add a little at a time, massage into your scalp and comb through. 


5. If all else fails I throw my hair up in a top knot, braid or low bun. It's easy and no matter how bad my hair looked beforehand it always does the trick.

Do you have any tips for battling a bad hair day? 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Health & Fitness: Strengthening Your Shoulders

Shoulder Strengthening Exercises #strength #exercise

When I go to the gym, my shoulders aren’t one area I tend to spend a lot of time working. I usually focus on doing cardio, abs and weights for my bigger muscle groups like legs, biceps triceps, forearms and back. I occasionally get in some shoulder exercises, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized how weak my shoulders really are. 

A few months ago, I got back into playing volleyball. I’d been on a long hiatus from the sport and decided to jump back in. After a few weeks, I worked out all the kinks that come from being away from a sport. I’m currently playing twice per week for an average of two to three hours per session. It’s a great way to stay in shape – I would much rather be playing a sport than on a treadmill or lifting. The only downside is the shoulder pain I started experiencing from repeatedly serving and hitting the ball. No matter how many stretches and warm-up exercises I did before playing, by the end of the night—and often times before I was done playing—my shoulder would be in pain. 

So I decided I need to focus more attention on strengthening my shoulders so that I wouldn’t continually put myself at risk for injury and have to quit playing volleyball. And when you think about it, strong shoulders are important for everyday activities like household chores and carrying groceries.

Your shoulders are one of those areas of the body you don’t really think about until injury strikes. I’m happy to say that my shoulder has been feeling MUCH better, and it’s all thanks to sticking to a solid shoulder routine. Check out the videos if you want to learn how to do any of the moves.

Weights at the gym (no more than twice per week):

Resistance band with medium tension at home (daily):

Much more could be added to this list, but these are the ones I’ve incorporated into my routine for now. I’m sure as my shoulders get stronger, I’ll either bump up the weight or resistance slightly or try out some new exercises. 

Have you ever had to build a workout routine to help yourself recover from an injury?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Health & Nutrition: Hot Quinoa Breakfast Cereal Recipe

I'm a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. I do venture out and eat different things on the weekends but during the week I stick with my absolute favorite protein packed breakfast that keeps me full well into lunchtime: hot quinoa breakfast cereal. Never heard of quinoa before? Quinoa is a great source of protein ( approx. 6 grams per 1/4 cup serving). It's also a great source of fiber and is much easier to digest than most protein sources. I usually will make my quinoa for the week on Sunday night in my rice cooker and keep it refrigerated until I'm ready to eat it each morning. Making it super easy and quick morning meal.

Hot Quinoa Breakfast Cereal

Stuff you'll need:
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you have on hand)
Handful of mixed nuts
1 Scoop almond or peanut butter
1 tbsp flax seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
What to do:
Put all the ingredients into a microwavable safe bowl and cook for 2 minutes. Stir and enjoy! I sometimes add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for a little something extra ;)

Have you tried quinoa before? Have any favorite recipes you'd like to share?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Great Winter Coats

Though I don’t like the cold weather, I love buying coats and accessories to help me stay warm. Here are five winter coats that I’d love to add to my collection:

Quilted Faux Leather Bomber Jacket,

Wool cotton-blend pea coat 
Wool Cotton-Blend Pea Coat -

 Anne Klein Women's Pea Coat,
Wool Jacket,

Bengen Winter Short Women's Fashion Casual Hooded Down,

What coats are you lusting after for winter?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Health & Fitness: 10 Ways to Stay Active at Work

Like many of you, Adrianne and I work an office job 8 hours a day (at least) 5 days a week. That equals a lot of sitting and not much activity. I used to be a server and between running around to my tables and lifting heavy plates I didn't have to worry too much about remaining active. Since switching over to the desk job my activity level has decreased dramatically. I've come up with a few tips for staying more active throughout the day and hope they help you too!

1. Take a break at least once an hour to get a glass of water, hit the restroom or just take a quick lap around the office. Sitting all day is really hard on your body and breaking it up really helps. My future husband is a Physical Therapist and told me that I really need to be getting up every 10-15 minutes. Although that is ideal, not much work would get done!

2. Use your lunch break to get away from your desk. I used to eat at my desk during my lunch while continuing to work. Now I either leave the office and go for a walk, go window shopping or go to the gym. Our work recently installed a fitness center and I've been utilizing that on my lunch break on most days. Not only is my workout already done but it really breaks up the work day.

3. Schedule your workouts and write it down in your calendar. I keep a calendar in my purse and I log all of my planned workouts for the week. If they vary at all after I've planned them out I make the changes so I can keep record of what I did each week. It keeps me accountable and like any other "appointment" on my calendar, I feel like I have to do it.

4. Make workout plans with a friend. Go for a walk and talk about life. Help each other out  through a challenging weights workout. I've found that when I workout with a friend it doesn't feel like working out. Time goes by so quick and before I know it -- the workout is done!

5. Buy and wear a pedometer. Studies show that people who wear a pedometer on average walk a mile a day further than those who don't. Add that up and that's 7 miles a week! I know if I was wearing one I would be much more conscious about how many steps I was taking.

6. Always take the stairs. This may not apply to you if you work on the ground floor (or 57 stories high) but I've found that taking the stairs to the 4th floor every day has really helped give me some extra cardio. No matter how good of shape I'm in, I always find the stairs to be such a challenge!

7. Park farther away. Not just at work but everywhere. It's so easy to stay in your car and hunt for that perfect close parking space. Think about how many extra steps you could get in if you just parked a little farther away.

8. Instead of calling or emailing a coworker -- go walk and see them! I find it's so easy to hide behind my computer all day and not have any face-to-face interaction. If I would get up more and go visit my coworkers in person, not only would I move a lot more but I would be able to interact with my colleagues. Win-win if you ask me. 

9.  Work on your posture. It's so easy to slump down and look at your computer screen all day. Make a conscious effort to suck in your belly, pull your shoulders back and sit up tall. It's great for working all the muscles in your core and is so much better for your body. 

10. Do stretches at your desk. It will help get your blood flowing and give your body a small boost of energy. I find that stretching really helps when I'm super stressed at work -- it clears my mind and helps me focus. 

Those are just a few of of the many things you can do each day to get some more activity into your life. I find it's always nice to have a friendly reminder from time to time. 

Are you doing any of the above to stay more active? Do you have any other ways that you use to get more activity into your day? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

Winter is creeping up on us, and that means cold and flu season is near. Keeping yourself healthy during the winter months involves more than just eating right and exercising. It’s so important to make sure you’re keeping you and your surroundings extra clean to eliminate germs that could potentially make you sick. 

Cold, Flu, and the differences....

Check out a few of these tips that can help cut down your risk of catching a cold or flu this winter:

If you touch or shake hands with anyone, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Touching someone else is an easy way to pick up germs, and washing your hands is the simplest way to eliminate them. Think about it—someone might be carrying cold or flu germs and just not displaying symptoms yet. Better safe than sorry. And if you know someone is sick, the best thing to do is avoid getting close to them if possible. 

While you’re at it, don’t touch your face. Touching anything and then touching your face is like asking to get sick. Germs can get in your body so easily through your eyes, nose and mouth.

Get plenty of rest. As colds and flus are being passed around this winter, don’t let something as simple as not getting enough sleep be the catalyst for making you sick. When you don’t get rest, your body is more susceptible to taking in those germs.

Clean, clean and clean some more. Though you should be meticulous about cleaning and disinfecting your surroundings year-round, it becomes even more critical during cold and flu season. If you touch someone with a cold and don’t wash your hands, you could bring those germs into your home. You might touch all sorts of things around your house and spread the germs. Be overly-cautious and take the time to regularly clean and disinfect things like your car keys, phone(s) and purse. In addition to these everyday items, make sure you are disinfecting things in your home that you touch often—like your TV remote, light switches or doorknobs.

Don’t share. Avoid sharing personal items like makeup, towels, drinking glasses or even food. The more you touch items that someone else has used or touch, the more likely you are to pick up germs. And with things like sharing food and/or drink, there’s really no way to disinfect once you’ve shared. Just forgo these things while cold and flu are running rampant.  

Do you have any other tips for avoiding illness during cold and flu season?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wedding Day Hair

Now that I've figured out what I want my makeup to be like on my big day I've been searching for how I want to wear my hair. I've been pinning images like crazy on Pinterest and saving them to my wedding day hair board. It helps keep me organized and hopefully I will narrow it down. 

I was recently in a wedding and I really liked how my hair looked and LOVED the bride's hairstyle. I would want something similar but since our wedding has an outdoor rustic theme I want it a little more relaxed. Here are some images on my Pinterest board for inspiration:



Adrianne has referred me to her stylist and I can't thank her enough. I can't wait until the hair trial to see some of these looks come to life. 

What do you think of these looks? Are there any others that I should check out?