snapshots of holiday craziness – Thanksgiving edition

Brett and I had a great Thanksgiving trip to St. Louis and Southern Illinois.  These trips always involve going back and forth between our two families and much strategy over figuring out where is best to put the pups each day but we always have a great time with our families.

This year we brought two friends home with us.  Raj, Brett’s trusty partner in crime, and Yonatan joined us for the house-to-house Thanksgiving celebrations/eating 🙂  I didn’t take pictures everywhere we went for some reason but I captured a few moments from the days with family 🙂

…like the group of us standing around, waiting to eat….



…the traditional Turkey Pineapple….  🙂


…and of course, the boys talking about something tech-y…


It was good to spend time with my dad and Lucas 🙂  (even if Lucas’s hair is longer than mine…still!)  hahaha!


We spent part of the day after Thanksgiving with my dad, Lucas, and all of the pups.  I could never get these three to all look at me at the same time!



Then we moved ourselves to Patti’s southern illinois home.  I guess I must have been tired by the end of the trip because I didn’t take many photos with Brett’s family this time around.  (If you want to see the pictures from our fun Chicago weekend together, click here!)  Nonetheless, I have quite a sweet spot for Christmas decorations and Brett’s mom, Patti, gave us this sweet light up snowman!


We arrived back home on Saturday night and spent a chunk of the next day filling up as many as these bags as possible


There is still a piece of the yard that has leaves but we are bagless until we make the next grocery store run…oohhh welllll  🙂

That was our holiday in snapshots…sometimes a cohesive story just isn’t necessary right?  🙂

Happy end of Fall to everyone and start of Winter!  Brett and I hope that you all celebrated Thanksgiving with those whom you love!

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


Girly Wednesday ~ xxiv ~ fun nail art!

It has been a while since we did a nail post so here goes it!  The other day, I painted my nails and decided to go one step further by adding a really simple design in a contrasting color.  What do you think?  🙂

First, I painted my nails black (as always, applying a base coat first)…I used to think that black nails would instantly look gothic and dark but I have found that I really really enjoy the dark color.  I find it elegant and fun 🙂


Then I took one of my favorite, lighter shades of nail polish and applied three small dots to the top left corner of each nail on my left hand and the top right corner of each nail on my right hand with a toothpick.  After the dots dried I applied a top coat and voila!




What do you think about the finished look?  One step that I sometimes do but didn’t include here is cleaning up the edges of the nails with a q-tip and some nail polish remover.  Taking a shower also helps remove those pesky bits of nail polish on the skin around your nail but not everyone may also need to take a shower a few hours after painting their nails 😉


Girly Wednesday ~ ix

For a dinner date with Brett recently, I tried a new hairstyle:  the twisted chignon.  The Sidewalk Ready blog gives a great tutorial here.  Anyone who has looked recently at popular wedding hairstyles has probably run across many versions of this hair style.  The twisted version though is super easy and looks super complicated…ok, maybe super complicated is an over exaggeration but it definitely looks harder to style than it is 😉  The hair style took me about 7 minutes once my hair was dried 🙂

First, put your hair into a ponytail near the nape of your neck.  Pull the hair rubber band out from your head a little bit (try to use a hair rubber band that is similar to your hair color…or clear if you are blond) and turn the pony tail inside out




Pull the inside out pony tail to tighten.  Then loop the hair hanging from the pony tail underneath, and back under the twisted area.  Pin in place with bobby pins, being careful to keep all bobby pins hidden.


Pull carefully to tighten your new, pinned loop of hair


Pull the sides of the loop over and pin in place so that someone standing next to you can’t look through the loop that you created. blog_chignon8

Spray with a bit of hairspray and you’re done!



What are your favorite hair styles for nights out?  🙂  Are there any other chignon styles that you like?

Wine-ing and Dine-ing

To help celebrate a good friend of ours getting her post Master’s Degree job offer (yay Joanie!!!), we went out to a six course meal with six pairings of wine.  Though I don’t recommend it for those as intolerant to alcohol as me….it was a lot of fun 🙂

Joanie and I decided that it was an occasion to get dressed up for 🙂  I wore a fun dress given to me for Christmas by my mother in law 🙂  Raj and Brett were doing “research” in the living room (a.k.a. playing Halo now that they are reunited once again) so no one would take a picture with me until we were actually eating dinner!