24 April 2017
Most of my hair and makeup knowledge is circa 2002, the year of my most devoted readership to Seventeen and Glamour. I kept big binders of product recommendations and blow drying tutorials I’d torn out and saved, but I never seemed to do much with them — my friends and I didn’t really swap tips or play with each other’s hair, and most of the makeup I owned was the stuff I was required to buy for my ballet school’s performances.
Up until last year I was still mostly operating off of that banked knowledge from high school, as well as trial and error over the years and a few tips picked up here and there. It was nothing fancy, but it got the job done! My job requires me to be photographed fairly often, however, and I’ve wished for a long time that I had a better base of knowledge to rely on when left to my own devices for these occasions.
In a stroke of inspiration, I reached out to my sweet friend Sam of LULA Hair + Makeup to see if she might be willing to let me hire her for an hour or two to teach me some of her makeup wisdom. I kind of felt like it was a long shot, as she’s a busy lady and I wasn’t really sure if she did that sort of thing, but she replied right away. Apparently personal consults are one of her favorite things to do!
Photo of Sam by A.J. Dunlap
Sam charges $200 for a two-hour consult. With so much free information on the internet, I can understand why some gals might not be into paying for knowledge they can get elsewhere for free. But that’s just it – there is SO information out there, and the way I want to spend my limited free time is not wading through it to sort out the good from the bad, and the good for me from the good for someone else. After all, time is money!
I also know many makeup counters offer consults, and they are probably great, too! But I have worked with Sam many times over the years, and every time she has done my makeup, I have been thrilled. She knows my style, she knows my lifestyle; I knew we wouldn’t have to waste time getting up to speed. Plus, she’s one of the kindest, most encouraging and peaceful people to be around!
So, what did we do? Sam asked me to bring all of my makeup and skin care items with me to her home studio. We started by walking through my skin care routine, and she asked questions and recommended a few product swaps or additions along the way. For instance, she suggested that for my skin, I should use my Clarisonic just once a week instead of every other day like I’d been doing, and add a weekly moisturizing mask (she suggested two in different price points!). She also said I had beautiful skin, which was practically worth the price of the session in itself, haha!
Then we moved on to makeup, and I again walked her through each step of my routine. For any of my current products I wasn’t happy with, we tried out a few alternatives from her kit, and she offered application tips. I’ve since bought a few of her recommendations; one of my favorites is the Stila Convertible Color Lip and Cheek Cream in Gerbera – so pretty!!
I had specifically requested that she teach me how to do a fancier eye look (a la my 60 Before 30 list!), so we spent a good chunk of time on that. She narrated as she made up one eye, and then I mimicked her on the other.
A few days after my consult, Sam emailed me an extensive sheet of instructions for everything she taught me, complete with dozens of product recommendations that she specifically chose for my skin and lifestyle. I’ve bought one or two every month since and have slowly been incorporating them into my routine!
I adore Sam and can’t recommend her enough, so if you, too, are looking for some grown-up makeup help, shoot her an email! What do y’all think – does this sound like something that would be helpful for you? I’m considering hiring her for another session focused on hair! :)
23 March 2017
My friend was wearing these Lilly Pulitzer leggings the other day, and I about died. I didn’t even know Lilly Pulitzer MADE leggings! At $98, however, they’re a little out of my budget at the moment, so I went down a rabbit hole to find some other fun, floral, girly options. Here are my best picks at a range of price points!
Lilly Pulitzer ($98)
Old Navy ($20)
J. Crew ($52.50 on sale)
Nanette Lepore ($68)
J. Crew ($52.50 on sale)
Any other great sources to share with the group? :)
10 February 2017
So y’all have been very kind in my survey, saying all sorts of nice things. A few of you even mentioned that you like my style and are hoping for more fashion and beauty-related posts. Well, you may reconsider after I let you in on this very embarrassing fact about myself: sometimes, when I’m alone in the car, I wear my sunglasses OVER my regular glasses. (OMGDIDIJUSTADMITTHAT.)
It’s true. A few years ago, after some cornea scarring, my eye doctor switched me to daily contacts, and they are VERY expensive. I usually only wear them on the weekends or for big events, which is totally fine – I like my glasses! But, without prescription sunglasses, I’m left to my own devices while driving.
When I saw that Warby Parker accepts HSA money for prescription sunglasses (through their sponsorship of someone’s newsletter, of all things), and I jumped on that like a hot potato! CLEARLY they’re needed, if only to prevent John dying from embarrassment over his wife’s fashion faux pas. (I’ve got a few more years before June realizes what’s up.)
I ordered five pairs for my home try-on. After ruling one out, I asked for feedback on Instagram yesterday (if you’re reading this post in the morning, the stories should still be available!) The two frontrunners are neck-and-neck, and they happen to be the two I like best, too: no. 2, Laurel, and no. 4, Raglan. Looking at these photos again, I think I know which one will be my final pick.
Any final opinions? I’m going to pop the box back in the mail today and place my order over the weekend!
UPDATE: Thank you so much for voting! I ordered the Raglan (no. 4) and am thrilled to have upgraded my eyewear! :)
30 March 2016
And now for something different :) If you read blogs, you’ve probably heard people talking about “natural” varieties of deodorant. And perhaps, like me, you’ve been curious. Though I do try to incorporate “natural” products into my toiletries where I can, I’m not obsessive about it, and as far as I can tell the jury is still out on whether the ingredients in conventional deodorant (namely, aluminum and parabens) are actually harmful. However, I generally think rubbing fewer metals on my body is a good thing, and besides, I have never in all my life found a deodorant I’ve been truly satisfied with, despite trying a plethora of Super Hardcore No Sweat Ever varieties over the years.
Inspired by this post from A Cup of Jo, I decided to try LaVanilla first. I expected a bit of an adjustment period (apparently, odor can get worse for a bit after you switch as your sweat glands detox/unplug), but after several weeks of no improvement and less than pleasant underarms, I ditched LaVanilla and went looking for another option.
The comments section of that same CoJ post seemed to coalesce positively around Schmidt’s, so I dove back in and ordered the lavender and sage jar. Almost immediately, I could tell a huge difference – this stuff actually works!!
Disclaimer: because it has no aluminum in it, it’s not technically an antiperspirant, and I do sweat when I wear it and it’s hot outside. But I also sweat when I wore the Super Hardcore No Sweat Ever varieties, so I don’t consider that a big negative. And, Schmidt’s does include “natural plant powders that absorb wetness,” which help keep you dry. In terms of deodorizing, though, this stuff is as good or better than any conventional deodorant I’ve ever tried.
The only annoying part is the application – you scoop out a small amount with a little spatula, warm it between your fingers, and then rub it in – which is kind of messy and takes a few seconds longer than you’re probably used to. I was excited when they came out with a stick version a few months ago and promptly ordered one, but haven’t found it to be as effective as the jar formula.
So there you have it! Enough about my underarms :) I would love to hear if you’ve ever been tempted to try natural deodorant, or if you currently use it! (And if so, what kind? Ever since I saw them on Shark Tank I’ve wanted to try PiperWai!)