Thursday, November 27, 2014

Give Thanks!

It may not be the end of the year, quite yet, but I’m already gearing up for 2015. I know that every year - probably since I started this blog - I say, “This is going to be my year!” And every year, when things go awry, I inevitably end up thinking, “Okay, next year will be my year.”

 This time is different; I’m leaving the proclamations in the back of the drawer. I’m going to roll with the punches and take the inescapable bad times with the good, and do my best to make the latter just that much better. Because you know what? Even with all of the awful events that happened this year — and let me tell you, it was a doozy — this year was my year. Every year is my year. I’m one resilient son of a gun, and the amount of incredible opportunities and steadfast relationships I have in my life make me feel like the luckiest gal in the world, even when I’m feeling lost or perpetually stuck in a turbulent moment.

There are no perfect years. Even those who win the lottery, are born into royalty, or skyrocket to international fame are not immune to pitfalls and heartache, so why should I expect to be any different? I’m a work in progress, but I’m proud of myself for taking everything in stride and finding the bright spots in the bleakest moments — because when I look back on 2014, I don’t focus on anything other than the memories I want to keep. And goodness gracious, I have some great ones to look back on. Here are some highlights from my year, for which I’m forever grateful:


 1. Taking a spontaneous trip to Madonna Inn with my best friend, Kimbly, who dropped everything when I needed her, no questions asked. I love you, Kim! 

 2. My first trip to Paris, courtesy of the lovely team at Comptoir des Cotonniers. And then my second one, with my motley crew: Eliot, Angie, and Helena. Remember how a trip to Paris was my dream? I went twice, this year! Insane. 

3. Starting my Invisalign treatment (I'm currently receiving complimentary Invisalign® treatment in exchange for sharing my experience). I waited forever to take the plunge, because I have a tendency to procrastinate — especially when it comes to unfamiliar territory. I really should be thanking you all, for this and for the first part of #2 (and probably half of this list) because I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to receive complimentary treatment, if I didn’t have you guys as my audience. The other day, I was looking at old pictures and comparing them to my smile-in-progress, and I got so excited. I had to call Bobby in the room to show him how much wider my smile has gotten, and how less of my gums show. During my second trip to Paris, I was just getting used to my first Invisalign clear aligners. Now, I’m about halfway through. Time flies! If you would like more information on Invisalign treatment, click here


4. All of my visitors (and there were a lot). I’m so close to my family and friends, and moving to another state made me nervous about not being with them, enough. Luckily, I have a flexible schedule that allows me to travel, but I’m especially grateful to live in a place that people want to visit. My guest room is rarely empty, and I’m closer than ever to my family and friends. 


5. My trip to Japan. It seems completely surreal to think that as of last year, I had never been outside of the US. I didn’t even get my passport, until this year! For my 30th, Bobby took me to Japan. My dad was born there, and his dad lived there, when he was a kid. It was such a special trip for both of us. 


6. Designing my “Keiko” Bonlook glasses. And naming the colors after my favorite girls, no less! 


7. Collaborating with some of my favorite brands. I'm grateful for all of them, but I’d have to say that any time I get to work with Urban Decay, I get extremely excited! They’re a longtime favorite of mine, and working with animal loving beauty addicts is basically a dream come true.  


8. Getting my Miku tattoo. Miku has been my constant, faithful companion and best friend for the last ten years, so getting her tattooed on my leg was the least I could do to prove my love to her. It makes me so happy, every time I see her little smiling face on my leg! 


9. So many Disney trips! Actually, so many trips, period. Nashville, NOLA, LA, Paris, Tokyo, Florida, North Carolina…I stayed pretty busy.  The Disney trips are a good way to get the whole family together, and keep the kids entertained. This year, we took our very first family trip - complete with grandparents, parents, kids, and grandkids. We're planning on making it an annual event, because family is number one.


10. And last, but certainly not least: seeing Tessa (my little sister) graduate high school. She’s the most special person in the world. I cried my eyes out when she walked across the stage. Of course, I also cried when she first went to kindergarten, so she’s used to it. Monchichi is all grown up!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kate Spade Saturday Holiday Gift Guide

Outfit Details:
vintage blouse
Kate Spade Saturday Baroque Trapeze Dress (c/o)
Kate Spade Saturday Lots Of Dots Pouch in metallic dot/black (c/o)
Alberto Fermani boots

As mentioned in my last outfit post, I teamed up with Kate Spade Saturday to bring you some holiday party-ready outfits -- and now, a gift guide! For my second outfit, I went with the mod-inspired (surprise, surprise) trapeze dress, which I paired with a vintage ruffled blouse and my trusty over-the-knee boots. I used the Lots Of Dots Pouch as a clutch, and I liked it so much, I put it in my gift guide. Check out some of my favorite Kate Spade Saturday gifts, below!

1. Bags and accessories are my favorite gifts to give all my girls, because they're one size fits all! In addition to the Lots Of Dots Pouch (shown in black and teal), the Saturday is Dance Parties pouch and Passport Case are some of my favorites. Can you tell I have a thing for the metallic dots?

2. Perhaps my favorite gift in the bunch is The Eureka Book!, because it's like getting a ton of gifts in one package. It's full of frame-able prints, DIY projects, wrapping paper, and more. Also shown: the mini hipline cross body and travel slippers, which fold into a compact, zippered pouch.

3. and 4. Gold Dot beanie and crew neck tee.

5. A peek at the inside of The Eureka Book. It has perforated pages, for easy removal.

6. Zipline Tote, which has functional side zippers and can be monogrammed! It comes in cherry (shown), teal, and black.

Which gifts would you give your girls? Start making your list, because they're having an amazing giveaway. I want one of my readers to be the lucky winner, who will receive a $1,000 gift card to Kate Spade Saturday and four more (yes, FOUR!) for their girlfriends. Enter, here!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Makeup Monday: Flawless Skin Tutorial

You all are always asking how I have such perfect skin, and now you know the truth: I don't! But you guys have seen me without makeup many times, if you've seen past tutorials (and the occasional instagram), so I guess it was never a secret. I'm usually a BB Cream kind of girl (I alternate between Too Faced and Dr. Jart), but sometimes - like right now - my skin needs a little extra help. It's a combination of allergies, cold weather, hormones, and just having pale, sensitive skin that shows every imperfection. Though I need a little more coverage, it doesn't mean I'm going to cake on the makeup.  I love my freckles and beauty marks, and want them to show through. The trick is to use as little foundation as possible - and a little bit can go such a long way, if you do it properly. Here's a step by step tutorial on how to fake your way to perfect skin, when the beauty balm isn't enough: 

1. Start with a moisturized face, and prep with primer. I used Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer.

2. Conceal any under eye circles. I use a different concealer for dark circles than blemishes - you need something with an orangey tint, to combat the grayish blue tones. I used bareMinerals concealer. I like to use my ring finger to pat and roll the concealer; imagine inking a fingerprint. This warms up the concealer and helps it sink in, and the pat/roll doesn't wipe it away, like rubbing does.

3. Apply your foundation (I used Urban Decay Naked Skin). This can be done with your finger, a foundation brush, sponge, etc. My applicator of choice is the Beauty Blender. I soak it in water, squeeze out the excess, and apply in a bouncing motion. This gives the foundation a sheer, flawless finish.

4. Now, use the pointed end to get any smaller details: around the nose, under and at the corners of your eyes. This will also help blend the eye concealer seamlessly - but make sure to lightly tap the blender, not rub, or you'll wipe away the concealer.

5. Conceal any blemishes. You might be wondering why I save this for after foundation -- it's because normally, blemishes require a little more love, and you don't want to wipe away all that work. That will lead to more layering, and eventually you'll have a mound of caked on concealer. I generally use a concealer brush (both the brush and concealer are from Anastasia Beverly Hills), because it's a little more precise. Just dab the tiniest bit of concealer and tap, tap, tap. If I need extra blending, I lightly dab it with the larger end of the beauty blender (no extra product added).

6. Dot highlighter along your cheekbones and blend with your fingers. I used Stila All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Rose Gold.

7. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks (I used NARS Orgasm). When I want a natural, diffused flush, I use the MAC 187, and swirl in small, circular motions.

I finished by filling in my brows (check out my brow tutorial) and adding lip gloss (Urban Decay's "Sesso" from the new Naked On The Run palette) - I even skipped mascara. All done!