playing pups

watching our pups play makes my heart melt 🙂  Usually Inca is a total instigator but has this way of making it seem like Caya is driving the whole thing 🙂  This specific event started when Inca had a toy that she was teasing Caya with…but by the time I had my video ready the toy had been long forgotten 🙂  This evening of play (the entire evening had many episodes like the one in the video here) is one of the many reasons why I love having two dogs.  They take such good care of each other 🙂  Click on the photo below to see the video!


homemade raspberry ice cream

Brett and I received an ice cream maker for a wedding present.  So far we’ve made mint chocolate chip and now…raspberry ice cream!  🙂  I’d really like to start making some sherbets and sorbets too in the future!

I followed a recipe from here for the raspberry ice cream.  I substituted 2% milk in for the half and half since 2 cups of whipping cream seemed like enough fat in the ice cream to me haha 🙂  Otherwise I followed the recipe pretty closely!  I started by hand chopping the raspberries (didn’t feel like needing to clean a blender 🙂 )


The recipe calls for heating the milk to 175 degrees and then dissolving the sugar.  I only have a meat thermometer so I made due 🙂


I added the whipping cream and then the raspberries.  I decided that I didn’t want huge chunks of fruit in the ice cream so I took to the mixture with a potato masher.  🙂



I sealed up the mixture and chilled it for a few hours.  When our ice cream machine says that the spinning bowl thing needs to be frozen for over 24 hours and that liquids added to it need to be cold…it means it 🙂  (only learned that after a few failed ice cream making sessions haha)


The finished raspberry ice cream is so delicious.  This creamy, frozen treat will definitely not last long in our freezer!  🙂



Girly Wednesday ~ xxv ~ How my Beauty Consultant chose the makeup for our wedding

Hello everyone!  Brett and I recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary.  It got me thinking back to our awesome day and all of the hard work that went into each and every piece of our ceremony and reception.  With our one year anniversary just passed and a few of my close friends now being engaged (eep!  I LOVE weddings!), it seemed the perfect time to look back on some of the fun details of our wedding…today our focus is makeup!  One of the decisions that I made a few months before the ceremony was to have my makeup done by someone else.  I don’t usually spend money on things like spas/nails etc (hence my do your own nails type of posts haha) but there are times and spaces to pamper oneself 🙂  My makeup and that of 3 of my bridesmaids was done by a lovely woman, Catherine.  She is the older sister of a very dear friend of mine and is a fantastic Mary Kay consultant.  She drove all the way from Chicago to do our makeup the day of the wedding and I could not have been happier with the results.  She even let us go home with our own Mary Kay brush set…I had no idea that brushes worked sooo much better than the little spongy do-dads that come with the makeup.  🙂  Catherine has made similar trips to Champaign in the past to help me and a group of friends learn the newest tips and trends….she is always so helpful and often brings free goodies with her for everyone to try 🙂

Catherine and I have a few fun posts planned for you all over the coming weeks so it is with great excitement that I introduce her as a guest poster today!  This post talks about how Catherine went about creating our wonderful wedding day looks.  It is great for someone planning their own wedding, or just interested in how a professional pulls off a polished, elegant look.  Plus, we have something fun in store for you all at the end!  Enjoy! …


Guys, don’t skip over just yet, I have a surprise for you at the end!

I am so excited to be guest posting today and sharing a little insight for how I chose the makeup for Mallory and her bridesmaids.  I met Mallory probably about 5 years ago, when I was first starting my business with Mary Kay.  My sister was instantly a customer and introduced me to Mallory after they came back from studying in France.  Being a Francophile myself, we of course hit it off.  Fast forward a couple of years, Mallory has been a customer, introducing me to some of her friends and students as well.  So when it came time for her to plan her wedding, she asked me if I could help.  I am always honored to be in the bride’s space the morning of the wedding, hearing how she is feeling and being a part of the final preparations.  I remember she was so calm!  She and Brett had worked to create a beautiful wedding, and they had such a beautiful day too!  It was my pleasure to drive down from Chicago to help out with the makeup.

Three girls had asked me to do their makeup, plus Mallory.  I had never met her bridesmaids before, so I asked them to send me a recent picture.  The first step in creating a beautiful look is to see their skin tone, or in this case, a picture.  I’m looking for how much makeup they normally wear; what products they normally wear; and if they have any skin care concerns like blemishes, wrinkles, dry or oily skin.  This will help to determine what formula of foundation I want to use for them.  I also ask if there’s anything that specifically concerns them that they want to be sure is addressed.  We all know our own skin better than anyone else.  Plus, part of looking beautiful is the confidence we have when we believe we look beautiful.

I’ve been with Mary Kay for 7 years.  I have hundreds of hours of hands on skin care and makeup training.  I feel it’s important to keep on trend too, which is why I love to take Pinterest Looks and adapt them for myself and my customers on a regular basis.  Follow my pinterest board here!  I also like to look at our Look Book as inspiration, to see if I can get a quick look.  These are on trend, seasonal looks.  Why start from scratch if something great already works?  I look at skin tone, hair and eye color.  Rarely can I find an exact match, so I know I’ll have to tweak it.

When designing the perfect look…

If a woman does not normally wear makeup, I’ll stick with a neutral palette.  But if she does like to wear makeup on a regular basis, I know I can play with some more color…within reason.  I also like to consider what they are going to be wearing.  Formality is important.  And the prominent color too.  Not that I am going to match a purple dress to a purple eye shadow, but the intensity.  I’m probably not going to have her wear pale blush or peach lips with a deep navy dress.

Even if I am meeting with a client who is not picking out a wedding look, sometimes they are eager to try something new, like a dewy look.

First, for our bride, Mallory.

I wanted to create a classic and timeless look.  I started with foundation primer, to create a perfect canvas and extend the wear of the makeup.  We applied her foundation and concealer.  I don’t think anybody can go without their brows being more defined.  I love our pencils, but you can use our matte eye shadows if you prefer a powder application.  Don’t forget to finish with brow gel to keep them in place!

I decided to stick with neutral colors.  With Brunettes, my favorite accent color is purple.   So I added a little sweet plum in to the corner.  Don’t forget to apply eye primer; needing to re-order this product is the short answer for why I became a beauty consultant…I love our eye primer!  I applied our lash primer to each side just before applying mascara.   Popped strawberry cream blush on the apples of her cheeks and finished with a beautiful combination of berry kiss lip stick and pink luster lip gloss.  After I took her picture, I realized, she looked washed out…so we added some bronzer.


Next, Melissa.

I was inspired by a then current look from our book.  Surprisingly, it was only one eye shadow, but granite is kind of like a super hero.  It can be an accent, a highlight, or a mid-tone color.  A couple of layers of it, and you have an easy wow eye.  I wanted her lips to be the focal point, so though granite was awesome, it was still neutral.  If she hadn’t been too excited about such a dramatic lip, I also had a bit stepped back look prepared for her, but I’m glad she was adventurous.  Her eyes are a bit deep set, so I wanted to bring them out. We did several coats of mascara, in a couple of different formulations to get the look I wanted.


Shelly, I knew was kind of my makeup girl.

Again, I was inspired by our look book.  And it included two new eye colors that I hadn’t worked with much before.  I think it turned out beautifully!  Shelly had mentioned that the skin around her nose tends to be redder, so if our foundation didn’t cover it up enough, I knew I would need to apply either another layer, or some concealer.  Even though she only has on two eye colors, they really steal the show and her lips take a step back, while still playing a role.


Finally, Kristin.

Want to know a secret about Kristin’s look?  Her eyes are the same as Mallory’s!  Yup, I used the same colors on her.  I knew that Kristin was not really a makeup girl.  Remember when I said that I like to keep a neutral palette?  I really do love Crystalline, hazelnut, and chocolate kiss.  For her lips, I used the more neutral palette I had done for Shelly.  Isn’t it amazing how the same colors can look different on different people, or even be applied in different ways?


With about 90 different foundations in our line, it  can take a little while to find the perfect match, but that’s one of the benefits of having a Mary Kay beauty consultant.  Try before you buy, and not on the back of your hand or some other crazy place.  On your face, your whole face!  Plus, with our 100% satisfaction guarantee, you’ll never feel like you are stuck with a color you bought.  Contact me for details.  The company stands behind their products so strongly that they give us the best guarantee.  And don’t worry about me, I’m never out anything because they replace the product to me!

Everyone had their foundation and concealer matched.  Foundation really helps to even out your skin tone and provide that flawless finish we all want.  Everyone had foundation primer, eye primer, lash primer, and lip primer to extend the wear and provide additional benefits.  We didn’t have these two products at the time, but if we had, I would have used them too: Translucent powder and finishing spray.  They aren’t just wedding day tools; they are necessary for the 16 hour days we have as women!    Each lady also got to take home their own brush set.

As the colors were applied, I trained the girls on how to hold the brushes, why I chose the colors I did, where to apply each of the eye colors for their face shape, and bronzer and blush for their face shape.  I believe that even if a woman takes away 10% of the things I teach her each time I see her, she can learn so much!

If you’ve been adding things to your shopping cart as you read through this, don’t forget to add our awesome compact!

Well, if you’ve read this far, you either learned a lot, or just skipped to the end.  Either way, here’s something you’ll be happy to read.  I’m giving away a prize!  A $50 gift certificate towards Mary Kay products, from Me!  Plus, if you win and are in the Chicago, Champaign/Urbana, St. Louis, or Southern Wisconsin areas, you also get hands on training and custom makeover from me!  In person!  Aren’t you so excited?  Even if you don’t win, everyone can take 15% off their online order with the code MALLORY!

How can you win?  You can get multiple entries.

Winner will be chosen at random from all entries after the final post in this series.

Men, have you waited long enough?  You can also win the men’s complete skin care line, valued at or any Men’s fragrance.  So, please be sure to get your entries in!


before and after pictures by Catherine Silver, Mary Kay consultant

collage pictures by Justine Bursoni


Sci-Fi Murder Mystery Dinner

Around this time last year, Brett and I held a Sci-Fi themed, Murder Mystery Dinner party at our house, hosted by the lovely, Joanie.  🙂

This is Joanie looking like a normal human being…


This is Joanie looking like the owner of an outerspace cantina 🙂


The evening was a ton of fun!  I was nervous at first by all of the preparations required.  Joanie was super pumped (read:  very enthusiastic!) about the whole thing so we went all out with decorations and space themed food.  Brett and I made the house seem grundgy (despite having basically new living room furniture haha) and Brett put a clip of the cantina scene in Star Wars on loop on the projector screen.




Joanie and I spent hours planning and preparing the menu.  🙂  Joanie’s Dune Spice Pockets were definitely the highlight of the evening but my Fruit Spawn Cupcakes were quite a hit as well 🙂  Plus, who doesn’t love a bit of Wookie Chow, Bugs & Sauce, and Yoda Ears with any cantina meal?


Each person was given information on the theme of the party along with specific details about their assigned character.  Since it was a murder mystery, we had to be secretive about certain details.  Brett even ended up being the murderer and he never told me ahead of time! (read:  good thing I wasn’t the murderer haha)



Everyone went all out with their character’s costumes and with the many little details required by the evening’s festivities!  Some friends of ours even created the little, rose scented pills needed by some of the characters!  (I wish I had a picture of those! haha!  our living room and kitchen smelled rose-y for a week!)  Another friend of ours was spray painted by her husband for her costume before they arrived…I think she looked like a tiger for a few days after the party too 🙂






The story was acted out perfectly and I think that everyone had a really great time!









Pictures by Marianne (thank you Marianne!) and Mallory

Sorry about the blurry images…the room was quite dark and was meant to feel eerie 🙂  I’m really not good at events like this!  They are super super fun but I would rather just hang out with everyone instead of need to have some story behind what I’m saying…mainly I don’t like the deception involved!  😉  Can’t we all just be friends?!  HAHA!  Brett, for instance, lied to me under the disguise of his character in order to book passage onto some space freighter….I just let him book for whatever money he said he had not thinking that he’d be fibbing to me!  🙂  (maybe I should just help plan and watch everyone next time?  hehe)  The evening was so fun though and everyone had a great time.

Do you have any fun, people-getting-together type of events like this that you like?  🙂