Happy New Year!

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This past week has been a true whirlwind between wrapping up my last days at my current job, heading home for Christmas and then returning to Minneapolis only to get sick. I’m grateful to finally be feeling better and although my mind is currently racing ahead to tomorrow and tonight and all the small details that need to be taken care of, I’m trying to stay present and think about 2013. It is, after all, the very last day of the year.

This year brought both transitions and stability. It was the first year since my senior year of high school where I felt  I had a home to love. It was the first year of being married and the only time Brady and I haven’t been long distance.

I had my first job post-grad school and, despite resistance, became an adult of sorts. I paid more bills  than I care to recall and applied for more jobs than I care to count.

I spent precious hours in the company of dear friends and a few nights in magical places away from home.

I’ve read books that made me think and dream and enjoyed delicious meals that made me thankful.

Above all, I’ve really learned to trust my convictions this year. Despite how bold and brave I like to believe I am, I’m a worrier at heart and stepping out on a limb and choosing to return to school was the hardest decision I’ve made in quite some time. Now that’s it made, however, I’ve felt such freedom and confidence. I know teaching is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing and the road ahead already feels blessed.

Here’s to 2014, everyone! To a new start, new adventures and new memories!

Xo, E

Image courtesy of inspiration-guide.tumblr.com

 

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Christmas Beauty Guide

The yuletide season is in full swing, so it’s time to put away the tinted moisturiser and break out the glitter and fall lashes.  If (like yours truely) you’re working until Christmas Eve, here are a few party tips for festive makeup that don’t require a last minute MAC dash.  Scroll down for the definitive guide to sparkly smokey eyes and the perfect oxblood lip.

Oxblood Lips

The Oxblood trend is still shining down on all things beauty, and for a strong party look wearing the colour on your lips is perfect.  Although darker than pillarbox red the colour seems less scary than a bright pop.

mac lipsticks

Mac’s dark shades have staying power and come in a variety of darker shades and colours. *TIP* If a colour you’ve chosen is too overpowering for your personality or skin type, mix a little foundation with the colour and apply, you’ll keep the hue the foundation will mute it slightly.

Application:

#1 Start by buffing and moisturising your lips; just a quick rub with a face exfoliator or gloves is fine.

#2 When applying a base and foundation I always apply it to my lips too, I like a totally blank canvas.  Lips should be the last portion of your face to make up, s0 do your eyes, brows and cheeks first.  Just don’t put too much power on your lips, it will just go cakey and the lipstick won’t glide on neatly.

#3 Lip liner.  A lot of makeup tutorials will tell you to apply lip liner in the same colour as the lipstick, but I think it’s ridiculous to ask a girl to have a lip liner in every shade, so pick a nudey/pink and use the just one.  Line all your lips not just the central portion; this makes even the thinnest of lips appear fuller and plumper

#4  Using a lip brush is quite a finicky job but it will ensure your lipstick is perfect, do one coat, press your lips between a tissue and then apply another

#5 Dab powder or foundation around your lips to stop the lipstick bleeding….

#6 Tah-dah…!!!!

oxblood lips

Glitter Smokey Eyes

I have a warm but pale skin tone, and dark eyes and hair so a smokey eye is a daytime look year round.  Mixing it up for parties and Christmas is often a challenge when you feel naked day to day without eyeliner and lashings of mascara.  However, if you want to smoulder under the mistletoe there are a multitude of metallic and sparkly shades to keep your party look on trend.

0a9901d7db10a1df06f6acffbeb7a4bbTo achieve the perfect smokey eye, you need quite a few colours and tools, if you invest in a good palette of colours that matches your skin tone, the mixing and matching is a lot easier.  Bobby Brown and Urban Decay do great reels of colours from nude shades through to deep, muddy tones.

Make sure your brows are neat and swept up and your base is perfected before you begin… For this look you need three colours, a glitter shade and some eyeliner.

#1 Start by applying a nude, shimmery colour to the whole eye area, sweep up to your brows and dust under yourlower lashes.

#2 With a smaller brush pat medium to dark colour over your lids, up to your eye socket, as rule dust the colour under your eyes to wear your lower lashes rest, and no lower.

#3 With an angled brush, take a very dark colour and use it like eyeline around your lash line.  Then sweep it up your outer eye in a sideways V shape.

#4 A light or white shade dotted in the inner part of the eye, where the lids meet, will open your eyes up and make them look bigger.

#5 Glitter, I find using my third finger is more precise when applying glitter than using a brush, which make so mess around the rest of your face. Dab a little glitter on your top  lids and around the outer eye.

#6 Eye Liner. Line your eyes however suits you, my eyes are quite big so I tend to line in and out, but if your eyes are smaller or deep-set, then just line the top.  If you’re nervous about such a strong eye look, then leave the eyeliner out.

#6 Dust power around your eyes to clear up any powder that has dropped, apply mascara and false lashes, and your ready to go! Here are my favourite metallic looks for Christmas 2013…

Deep purples and blue shades look great on darker or olive skins. Greens and golds brings out the pink rosey tones of pales skins and blonde hair.

If you want to mix it up a bit, use a lighter nude colour on the top lids; then apply a colourful and darker shade underneath.

Eyeliner Flicks

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A modern vintage look, liquid liner never gets old and is perfect if you want to wear a strong lip and still be able to wear eye makeup.  Use a nude browny/gold shade over the lids and sweep a think line of liner from your inner to outer eye.  Pull up from your eyebrows and flick the liner up for a cat’s eye effect.

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And finally…

If you really want to match your make-up to your Christmas jumper, try this Christmas themed eye make-up…

Ash x

My Christmas Playlist

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I’m not one of those people who starts listening to Christmas music in October, but I am a proponent of Christmas music in moderation. I recently made this playlist to help get me through the work day and you can listen to it here.  Enjoy!

1)      Christmas Lights   // Coldplay

2)      Carol of the Bells   // John Williams

3)      The Christmas Waltz   // She and Him

4)      Christmas Song  // DMB

5)      Hark the Herald Angels Sing   // Christmas Songs

6)      Let It Snow   // Glee Cast

7)      Little Drummer Boy   // Pentatonix

8)      Last Christmas   // Jimmy Eat World

9)      I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day   // Burl Ives, Owen Bradley

10)   Baby, It’s Cold Outside   // She and Him

11)   Silent Night   // Nat King Cole

12)    What Child Is This   // Classical Christmas Music

13)   Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas   // Christina Perri 

Adorable Photo courtesy of  Montana Sweetpea Tumblr

12 Days of Christmas: Gift #12

Our fun series of gift ideas has come to a close and for all you last minute-gifters out there, we’ve truly saved the best for last. At least I think so.

Let me start by saying that I love finding the perfect gifts for families and friends. We all deserve to be spoiled every now and again, but what about those who are without basic necessities at Christmas? Children waiting and hoping for a sponsor so that they can start school? Whether you gift ten or twenty dollars to these deserving charities, I hope you know it is appreciated and I think someone will feel pretty special if the gift was in their name.

Maybe you already give to certain charities, but the below list are a few of my worthy favorites:

#1: Compassion International

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This organization is all about children. I support the cutest little boy in Uganda. He’s going to school because of my help!

#2: India Partners

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This organization helps individuals of all ages in India break free of poverty. It also helps rescue young women and girls from sex trafficking.

#3: Kiva

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This nonprofit helps people living in poverty start up their own business. For just $25 bucks you can help them. Once their business is starting, the money will be credited back to you with the option of passing it again to help someone else. How cool is that?!

One week till Christmas now! I hope you all can watch Christmas movies, be cosy and keep track of what matters.

12 Days of Christmas: #11

flowersIf any of you (like me!) still have Christmas shopping to do, idea number eleven is here to save you! Until the day I have my own garden, fresh flowers are always a welcome treat in my home and it would be such a simple and thoughtful Christmas gift to give toanyone from your BFF to Grandmother. It’s still not too late to have fresh flowers delivered in time for Christmas and Flowers Online, ProFlowers, and  InterFlora are even offering last-minute Christmas specials.

One week till Christmas! Our final (and my personal favorite) gift will be posted this afternoon. X