Monday, October 16, 2017

The Beautiful Benefits of Relaxation

We live in a super fast world, and it’s not too much of a surprise to hear that the pressures, stresses, and strains of modern living have a significant impact. Not only does it increase our chances of getting ill - in mind and body - but it can also impact the way we look and feel about ourselves.


If you are worried about stress lines, dark circles under your eyes, or looking and feeling exhausted all the time, perhaps it’s time to seek out more relaxation - there are some incredible benefits of taking it easy, and we’re going to explore some of the best of them right now.




Say goodbye to colds.


Working hard all the time with no periods of downtime lowers your body’s resistance to bugs and illnesses. So, if you are tired of picking up colds and flu all the time, it might well be due to chronic stress. A little rest and relaxation are thought to be the cure, as it improves your chances of fighting off inflammation. That means no more puffy and red eyes, runny noses, hacking coughs and throat irritation. And who doesn’t look better without any of those annoying issues?


Say hello to lighter moods.


Chronic stress and overworking can also kill your brain cells, and even stop your brain from creating new ones. When this happens to your body, your chances of losing your appetite, and feeling sad and hopeless, the symptoms of depression, increase by a significant amount. All that stress and worry will ultimately start showing on your face in the form of lines, wrinkles, tension, and more.


Weight control


So, we’ve already established that overworking can lead to stress, which is the result of an increase of Cortisol in the body. Cortisol doesn’t just cause you feel miserable, it also makes you crave sugary, fatty, and unhealthy foods. So, although we are always told to keep active, you still need to ensure you have some downtime. Without it, you are more likely to reach for the junk food on a regular basis.


Skin improvements


If you’ve been needing an excuse to visit your local spa services, here it is: relaxing activities like getting a massage have incredible benefits for your body, including the skin and hair. Massage and other spa treatments help you improve your circulation, which results in giving your skin and hair vitality and a healthy glow. Massage even promotes hair growth and can stop your scalp from getting dry, itchy or developing dandruff. You’ll get a better night’s sleep, too!


Improves acne


If you suffer from acne and breakouts, it could be because you are working too hard. Stress ramps up the production of oil produced by your skin, which ultimately ends in clogged pores and acne issues. Finding time to relax helps your body rejuvenate itself properly, balance out its oil production, and reduce the impact and amount of the breakouts you are experiencing.

So, if you want to improve your appearance naturall, add a little rest and relaxation into your beauty regimen.


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All About the Base: How to Prep Your Skin for Makeup

How you prep your skin for makeup application will make all the difference to the finished look. Get it right, and you’ll have a glowing, flawless look that will last all night. Get it wrong, and you’ll soon find yourself re-applying in the bathroom. Read the following tips on how to get the perfect skin for flawless makeup application.

Photo: Max Pixel

Cleanse

The most important thing to prep your skin for makeup is to start with clean skin. That means completely removing everything that’s already there and getting rid of any extra dirt or oil. Choose a cleanser that is nourishing to help keep your skin soft, and remember to wash it off thoroughly. Makeup removal wipes won’t cut it, so make sure you invest in a decent face cleanser.

Exfoliate

Exfoliation is very important to the appearance of your skin. Read any exfoliating blog post and you’ll see that this step will not only leave your skin looking polished and smooth, but it’s an essential step for you that airbrush-style makeup look. Exfoliate two-three times a week as part of your skincare routine, and do it before a big night where you really want your makeup to pop.

Moisturize

Another vital step for creating the perfect base, moisturizing is what will keep your skin looking healthy and glowing. Make sure you choose the best moisturizer for your skin type to make sure you don’t choose something too light or too greasy for your skin. Allow your skin to absorb the product for five minutes before applying the rest of your makeup.

Use a primer

If you don’t know what a primer is and what it does, then chances are you haven’t fallen in love with its benefits. A good primer serves as the real base for your makeup, giving you a silky smooth base to work with that will not only make it easier to apply product - but will make your makeup last longer too. Whether you want glowing skin or reduce the appearance of your pores - there’s a primer out there for you.

Illuminate

Sadly, for most mere mortals, glowing skin comes out of a bottle. And that bottle is called an illuminator. Illuminators come in all shapes and sizes, but the best formulas are liquid ones to give your skin that fresh appearance. For truly glowing skin, add a few drops of an illuminating product to your foundation, and apply as normal. You’ll find that your skin has a much plumper and dewier appearance that may mean you can get away with wearing less makeup.

Set

After applying your foundation, you’ll need to set it with powder before you move onto your other products. Rather than leaving your setting to the end, work a light powder into your foundation to help lock it in place and soak up any excess moisture. From there you can apply the rest of your face and eye products for a long-lasting, flawless look.

You could use the most expensive makeup products in the world, but they won’t have much effect if you haven’t got a good base first. The right skincare routine is important for helping you create beautiful makeup looks, and following the steps above will help you get it right every time. Give it a try today and remember, it’s all about the base.


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Friday, October 13, 2017

Look Good For Less

  My longtime readers know I'm all about finding cute looks on a budget.  Now that I'm a Primadonna Mama, stretching those dollars are now more important than ever.  With Halloween and the holiday season coming up, it’s likely most of us will find ourselves invited to a few parties or some type of work event. Unfortunately, we all know that multiple outfits for multiple events aren't cheap. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t still look amazing and put together some awesome outfits. In truth, it’s all about figuring out some sneaky ways you can look good without spending too much cash.


Image Source: Keep that money in your pocket with a few bargain shopping tips. 




Shop At Places With Loyalty Bonuses
Most of us have one or two shops that we really love and will always check first when it’s time to buy a new outfit. If you do this, it’s worth checking if that shop has a loyalty system in place. Many online stores, such as this site, offer loyalty rewards and points whenever you make regular purchases. The more times you buy, the more points you earn, and then the points can be used to get money off future purchases. Regular retail shops might have loyalty cards that offer the same type of thing, always check for this as you can make huge savings on big brands.

Buy Old Clothes

You might not like this one because you don’t want to wear old clothes; you want something new. Or, you think I mean going to a thrift shop and buying some second-hand items. Thrifting is a great bargain tip, but what I actually mean is buying clothes that are out of season - in a fashion sense, they’re old. Realistically, no one really cares or notices if your clothes are from the right season. Wearing a brand new dress that was released last year won’t cause everyone at the party to look at you in disgust and wonder why you’re wearing something old. Search online consignment shops, ebay, poshmark, and other places to find cheap looks from last season.

Consider Renting

In some scenarios, you could save a lot of money by renting outfits instead of buying them. This is a brilliant idea when you have a formal event or evening party where all the guys will be wearing suits. For occasions like this, you need a nice dress, which will more than likely be an expense you won't get much value out of. How many times a year do you wear something like this? Renting is a great option because you get a lovely outfit for a big event, but don’t have to pay full price for it. Plus, you can rent another one for a different event soon after!

Don't forget to use your upcoming events as an opportunity to
try something new and update your personal style!

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Primadonna Mama: Our First Family Trip

Often times we travel to decompress and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Unfortunately, many of our "vacations" end up being even more stressful, as we endure uncomfortable flights, poorly planned iteneraries, and spend our vacation time feeling sluggish and irritated.

As a teacher I'm a BIG "planner", so I have always tried to plan most aspects of our travels to avoid the frustrations that can come with lack of preparation. This has been an easy task when planning for family trips that have never involved little ones, and getaways with my husband. I'd never planned a trip that involved a child, let alone an infant. So when my husband suggested we take a mini vacation to Atlanta last fall; I was excited and nervous about how our little one, (who would be making nine months old the day our flight departed), would handle the trip. Here are a few things I did, or wish that I had done.
Our Son Roman on his first flight. 


Packing:
In the airport rocking my cheetah sneakers.
Somehow, traveling with open shoes seems like a good idea when you have to slide them off for TSA check, but after a short hour in the plane seat you come to realize that you have made a terrible mistake. In an attempt to combine comfort, and style, I started packing for our trip by planning my wardrobe around a cute pair of cheetah print Keds. I figured they would be easy to slip on and off for TSA, comfortable for sightseeing, would blend easily with a number of outfts, and could go from day to night.


We scored a good deal on airline tickets by flying Spirit and deciding not to check any bags. Checked baggage equals extra fees so I found a suitcase that met the measurment requirements for Spirit's free "personal item" and purchased one for both me and my husband. I used packing cubes to organize our outfits for each day. We did not pack any shoes, and only brought the one pair of shoes we wore on our feet to the airport (i.e. my cheetah print keds.) I also puchased two TSA approved toiletry bags to pack our toiletries and things to clean my skin for the trip. I also packed a travel makeup kit with the essentials making sure to include a neutral eyeshadow and lipstick that could be worn with all of my outifits.


Roman's diaper bag also traveled free, so I used a few boxes of plastic storage bags from dollar tree (with the sliders) to efficiently organize his clothing. Each storage bag contained his clothing for the day; two outfits, two bibs, and two burp cloths. I packed one storage bag with all of his pj's for the duration of the trip, and I folded his washcloths and towels for bathtime as flat as possible and put them in a storage bag as well. I used a sandwich bag to pack sample sized baby items for Roman's toiletries. I included his prescriptions/medicine, and a travel sized febreeze and tide laudry detergent with them . We purchased the squeezable baby food pouches for when we were out and about and we poured an entire weeks worth baby formula into a freezer bag. This made it easier to fit into our diaper bag, and allowed us to store other items on top.

All of this preplanning worked out wonderfully. It was easy for us to locate and access everything we needed.


On the plane:

Trying to sleep is impossible; the draft from the A/C keeps you awake, the blankets they provide are not thick enough, or the air is stuffy and warm, and almost difficult to breathe in.. It’s a lesson learned, but it’s a tough one - and it will probably keep you up for the entire flight. To avoid these irrirations, try dressing in layers to be prepared for whatever the temperature of the airplane might be. Take a scarf with you as well, and use it as an extra blanket in case it gets too chilly up there. Try wearing comfy leggings, packing a cozy cardigan in your carry on, or bringing a supportive neck pillow if you plan to take a nap. Lifehacker.com has a great guide to assemble your own travel emergency kit as well, so have a look.

We were so afraid that Roman would be in pain from the pressure in his ears, we failed to think about him being excited by all the new sights and things to fiddle with. We spent much of the flight trying to stop him from slamming the tray table in front of us up and then slamming it back down. We had dressed him in layers, and had any food, or medicine he might need handy, but it was a major fail on our parts to assume he would be sleeping or sitting in our laps peacefully. We should have brought a small toy to keep him occupied. Of course it's difficult to find a small quiet toy that will keep a nine month old amused for a long period of time; but we should have had something.














Convenience
We booked a room at the CNN Center, hoping that staying in walking distance to most of the attractions we planned on attending would allow us to easiy return to our room in the middle of the day if necessary. We did not rent a car, but instead decided the Marta would be sufficient to get us where we needed to go.


If it were just my husband and I, this plan would have been flawless, but having to push a stroller, a diaper bag and two suitcases from the airport, to the MARTA, and then to the hotel is exhausting. We were quite drained when we arrived at the hotel. We had to repeat this process on the return trip when flying out of Atlanta.  When traveling with a little one, it's much easier to have your own form of transportation. Most airlines allow you to check a carseat for free. We will definetly be taking advantage of this in the future.  Convenience is worth the cost when traveling with an infant.

Sidenote: Spirit allowed Roman's stroller to fly free as well. We purchased a light weight foldable stroller that worked great for this trip!



I also decided to purchase a cute little backpack to wear instead of a purse to hold snacks, water, and any extras I might need for the baby.  I didn't use any sort of organization system like I used when packing our suitcases, and though the backpack idea was a solid one, I found myself rummaging through my bag searching for items throughout the day.


Look at how stuffed my bag was on our trip to the Aquarium!

In the future I will make sure my day bag is as organized as my suitcase. Wallets like the ones from  ibricraft.com would have been a good idea to keep attraction tickets, room keys, credit/debit cards from getting lost in the abyss of my bag.



Activities & Outings.
I purchased an Atlanta City Pass for my husband and I because I thought it would be the cheapest way for us to experience a lot of activities during our short stay.  Once again, if it had been just he and I, then I don't think it would have been a big deal, but I learned when traveling with an infant, there needs to be plenty of breaks and time to rest. Lucky for us, Roman is pretty agreeable and he took stroller naps whenever he got tired. Mommy and Daddy on the other hand could have used a nap from lugging around baby stuff all day and going from one attraction to the next.  I definetly miscalculated the amount of energy it takes to experience a new place with a little one in tow. In the future, I will make sure to leave some down time for relaxing and recharging when planning our future trips.

 I'm looking forward to taking the lessons I learned on our first family trip to plan an even better trip for Roman's 2nd birthday in 2018!




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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Updating Your Personal Style

There’s a lot of style guides out there on how to work high end designs. However, many of us can’t afford these pieces, or we don’t even like what the companies deem as ‘designer.’ Sometimes we simply don't think the looks we see in magazines will look good on us in our real everyday lives. As a result, we stick to our familiar wardrobes without ever trying anything new. Here's a few ways you can stick to your own style while being inspired by a little high street design.
Image Source

She Believed She Could.... So She Did


Sometimes we don't get out of our fashion rut because we aren't quite confident in how a new look will actually LOOK. It’s human nature to want to fit in with the crowd, and quite natural to sometimes feel insecure about how those around us will respond to a change in the way we present ourselves. Many times we aren't confident because we are not happy with some part of our physical appearance so we prefer to draw as little attention to ourselves as possible. The first element of incorporating new things into your personal style is to develop the confidence to move forward in your choice without focusing on the opinions of those around you. You can do this by making small changes over time that allow you to become comfortable with change. Perhaps a few highlights in your hair instead of completly changing the color, or wearing a bright colored top insead of the dark tones you usually gravitate towards. Try a different lipstick color, or a heel instead of a flat. Simple and consisent changes can help you become comfortable with trying something new.

Planning Makes Perfect
Sometimes we consider wearing something different or new, but something simple, like the weather, send us running back to our comfort zone.  The perfect little black dress might never make it off the hanger because it feels safer  to slide on your go-to black trousers.  Planning ahead will help you to put together picture perfect outfits that work in whatever situation you find yourself in. 

1. Start off by thinking of an event that you will be attending.  If there is no event, then plan for a meeting at work, a Sunday church service, a date night, or a gathering with friends.  Knowing where you are going and what activities you will be doing will help you plan better. The event will dictate wheter you should be looking to prepare an outfit that is casual, dressy, formal, etc...

2. Find a picture of an outfit that inspires you that would work for the event you are attending; maybe a picture on pinterest, or a picture in a magazine. Make sure that the outfit in the picture is appropriate and sensible for the event or place you are attending. 

2. Figure out exactly what you like about the picture.  Is it the color of the outfit, is it the pieces, or the accesories?

3. Check your wardrobe to see if you have anything similar to your inspiration picture? Make sure the pieces you already own are in good condition and fit well, and are flattering. Seeking the assitance of a good seamstress or tailor can bring pieces that you haven't worn in years back to life.
Image Source

4. Begin purchasing pieces to complete the outfit. You can shop around at thrift stores, consignment shops, and even bargain close-out stores to find attractive and affordable pieces and accesories to complete your look.  Of course, s
ometimes the idea of vintage can go out of the window when your consignment and thrift store hunts only turn up denim from the 70s and pieces that look like rejects from your grandma’s wardrobe. Turn away, it’s time to take the fashion fight to the net.
Trying online retailers like that of LuxeDH, you can find pre-owned vintage items as well as brand new offerings. Browse from an extensive range, and pick and choose in your own time.
Image Source

5. Try on as you go and figure out what you like and don't like about your look so you can fix BEFORE you wear.  Plan for weather. If it will be chilly, find the right coat, cardigan, wrap or blazer to go with your outfit. Search for the right shoes to brave standing or deaing with the weather.

6. Wear your outfit.  Don't chicken out!  If you put in the work to design your own brand of chic, step out and let the world see your style. 

This type of planning sounds exhausting because it takes a lot of time and effort,  but it will benefit you in the long run. You will save money because you will cut down on impuslse buys that never make it out of your closet.  Eventually you will build a wardrobe of pieces that work for different types of events and weather, and that reflects your own personal style.



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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Achieving Effortless Vintage Elegance

With the revival of the cropped pants, the herringbone and dogtooth designs, maybe now is the time to incorporate a look of vintage elegance; inspired by the 1950's into your wardrobe. It takes no effort to put on a vintage-like dress on and pretend to recreate a scene from Grease. but it takes practice, an eye for details, and a sense of style to achieve the real elegance ideals of the 1950s.


Vintage-looking essentials with modern perks
Image Source
Far from the oversized bag and the canvas rucksack, the 1950s handbags and purses are a sign of social standing. While you don’t need to dig an old bag from a vintage fayre, you can find classic patterns and shapes from most designers. As a rule of the thumb, classic bags tend to combine neutral colors and clear square shapes. Thankfully Gucci, Hermes and Chanel, which were already around in the 1950s, have continued to produced classical shapes along their yearly new collections. The only big difference is that modern handbags now offer much more room for all your beauty essentials, with multiple pockets and zips to fit all your balms, brushes, face palettes and mini sprays. In fact, if you were given a choice between an original 1950s handbag and a modern version, you should pick the latest model as it’s likely to offer more storage room. Women in the glorious 1950s were not expected to be as active and digital-savvy as they are today… and you’ll need somewhere to keep your smartphone safe!





Vogue’s checked cardigan


Warm coats and rockabilly cardigans\Forget the boyfriend’s coat and the bomber jacket. The 1950s was a period of luxurious elegance with long warm coats and waist-nipping cardigans. Fox and Klaff Furs offer a feel of the real thing with high-quality fur services. They can even revive that old fur jacket that you got from a great aunt and don’t know how to use. Not into furs? You can keep the pinup style alive with a small and tight rockabilly cardigan. No need to buy a vintage product. Just take a look at the latest Dita Von Teese collection for inspiration!










Subtle or glamourous
The last beauty touch you need for a perfect 1950s look is to copy the typical makeup palette of that time. In fact, pastel colors were a hit in this decade, combining pale greens, pinks, blues and yellows. If you were to pick only one iconic color for the era, it would be pink as it was used as a blush and on lips. These pastels may not be flattering on every skin tone so make sure you are inspired by this palette, but adjust accordingly.



If you’re set on reviving the 1950s look and make it your own, keep a subtle profile by focusing on accessories, jackets and pastel makeup trends of the era. Try to stay away from the street-styled rockabilly dresses that have long lost their vintage touch to fall into mainstream fashion failures.

This post was written by a contributing author in collaboration with primadonnastyle.com.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Face Facts: Get Yourself a Skincare Routine

I didn't wear much makeup this past summer. Two surgeries in less than a month caused me to be home recovering most days. I was ready to get back to my makeup routine, but I consoled myself with thoughts of how much my skin would appreciate the makeup free break. To my surprise, just the opposite happened. My skin looked dull, and the texture was terrible. Maybe it was all the stress on my body, or hormonal changes, but my skin was in pretty bad shape. I've been trying some different products to get back on track and still incorporating some goodies from my previous skin routine. Now I realize as my body changes, my skin care routine has to be adjusted from time to time as well. You can see my specific routine here, for some inspiration, and check out some of the minor changes I've made below.

Get yourself a routine!
If you want to see improvement in your skin, then you have to get committed to a regular routine. Consistency will help you figure out what works and what doesn't. That also means no more going to sleep in a full face of makeup.



You can see my specific routine here, for some inspiration, and below you will find a more general guide that you can adapt as you see fit.


Cleansing


Cleansing can be done in several ways with cleaning lotion, cold cream, and even soap and a washcloth. I was using Cetaphil Antibacterial Bar, but for the past month I have been using Aveeno Positively Radiant Brightening Cleanser to help my skin look more even and healthy.


Toning


Toners are mild astringents that are applied to the face to tighten the skin and close the pores when the cleansing process is completed. They are available online and in pharmacies, with lots of different scents and ingredients. Although it is important that you pick the right one for your skin type, or you could be doing more harm than good. Toning doesn't work well for my skin, but if you are very oily, this might be a great step to add to your routine. Try something gentle and fragrance free first to see if this step agrees with your skin.

Exfoliating 
Baking Soda and my Clarisonic Brush is still my favorite way to exfoliate.  I did recently try Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion but I didn't find it to be very effective.  It did leave my skin smooth, but not as smooth as a simple baking soda paste.  

Serums
I added a step prior to moisturizing. I have been using a repair serum to correct some of my recent skin issues.



I'm currently using Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate before applying my night moisturizer, and Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate. after cleansing (and before moisturizing in the mornings.)


Moisturizing


Another vital step to having gorgeous skin is moisturizing. This is where you applied a rich cream or oil that smooths, plumps and nourishes the skin. Feeding the cells under the surface and allowing them to repair effectively.  


Although some women can get a little confused about this step. Especially concerning when to apply their moisturizer, as they don't want to overload their skin, but they also want the best results possible. Check out the post at https://moisturizers.com/3-best-times-apply-moisturizer-glowing-skin/ for some guidance on this. Just don't be afraid to judge how your skin feels from the inside and feel free to apply after activities that can dry the skin like showers and swimming.
I am currently using Dr. Adorable's Triple Refined Organic Emu Oil. as my moisturizer.


Facemasks


Using a facemask is an additional step to a good face care routine. You can do it occasionally or once or twice a week. Depending on the need for it, and whether you find it relaxing or not. Usually, it should be done before moisturizing, although some folks prefer to do it after to minimise any skin drying aspects. In fact, there are quite a few tips on applying your mask that are useful that you can learn more about at https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-21339/.



Use a mask that is geared towards any specific problem like breakouts, or dry skin that you have. Just remember not to do one right before a big night out as they will bring out any imperfections and blemishes. Achieving the exact opposite of what you are aiming for and leaving you with blemishes instead of glowing skin.


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