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Curls Reign!

This is the post excerpt.

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Trend report: Ladies, it is time to step away from your flat iron! If you haven’t noticed the latest hair styles featured in all the magazines and worn by celebs like Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga – I’m here to tell you: curls are having a moment. That should bring a huge sigh of relief to about 65 percent of you- because according to statistics, that’s the percentage of women who have naturally curly hair.

As for me, I have fought every curl and wave in my hair for the past 11 years. I can almost say that with a flat iron and too many products to name, I got pretty good at keeping things straight. Yet there was always the damage. So what’s a girl to do? I will tell you what I did! I decided to embrace my curls!

The first day that I went curly I received numerous compliments about my hair- and never looked back! But I need to explain that I didn’t just wash my hair and walk out the door and viola, everything fell into place. Nooooooo! (That only happens in the movies, ya know!) I went through numerous sprays and curl creams before coming across two very special products that did the trick for me.

The first is a curl cream made by Monat. If you’ve never heard of them, they are a MLM company specializing in hair care products. They have good products, but are in the prestige brand range for pricing. The product I use is a curl cream that was offered as a free product when I placed an order. It makes my curls looks nice and fluffy but not frizzy, and no crunchy stiff feeling. Unfortunately, the curl cream is not available as it is not in Monat’s permanent product line. It drives me crazy when these MLMs come out with a product on a trial basis! So why am I telling you about it? Hopefully by the time you read this, the curl cream will be a permanent product, or so many people will express interest in it to drive the demand.

If you can’t wait around for Monat to get their curl cream produced, Bumble and Bumble carries an excellent line of products specifically for curly hair. I really love their curl cream as well, and have also tried the gel-oil- which is geared more toward tighter curls than mine. The curl cream makes my curls look very healthy and defined, not as “fluffy” as Monat’s product but equally beautiful.

With both products, I simply dry my freshly washed hair with a t-shirt, apply the curl cream, scrunch it, then do not touch it until it dries (very important not to touch it!). After my hair is completely dry, I fluff the curls with my hands and that’s it! Try it out, I would love to hear what you think!

XXOO

Cheryl

Captivating beauty- my search

A thought came to my mind about six months ago…a curiosity of sort. I don’t particularly know what was driving it, but I became preoccupied with finding beauty. I began watching YouTube videos, scrolling through Instagram, and searching the Internet for any subjects related to women’s makeup, hair, fashion, and fitness. I wanted to embody that which I considered to be beautiful, replicate it, and present it to the world. It was my mission.

As such, I began to take action. I started researching different makeup and skin care lines and trialing and buying whatever I thought suited me best. I signed up to sell a makeup brand for a short time, and I began to take selfies and post them with all of the hashtags that I thought were necessary to get the attention that I desired.

But something inside of me didn’t feel quite right about my approach. I began to question my whole reason for this preoccupation. It wasn’t a need to make money, as I have a career. So what was it? Was I craving male attention because I felt stagnant in my singlehood? Or was I succumbing to the pressure of social media and seeking validation by earning “likes “? Was I feeling at this point in my life that I was getting older and thus no longer attractive?

I needed to get some answers, so I took action once again. I began to reach out to people to get their opinion on aging, beauty, and the role that social media plays in forming our opinion of ourselves. I also saw a therapist (twice!), asked a complete stranger to meet me for a beer to get his perspective on things, and most importantly, went back to my roots and sought God.

That’s when I finally started getting some answers. I was led to a book called “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldridge. Through it, I learned that as women, there are three things that we long for – to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty. Did you see that third one I just listed? Yes, unveil beauty! I am not joking when I tell you that I cried when I read the introduction to the book and continued to do so throughout reading it. Obviously, it really spoke to my heart and made so much sense to me and what I was feeling.

As women, we all want to know that we are pretty. How many of us have changed our outfit at least three times before going out for the evening? How many stress over every scar, stretch mark, or extra pound that finds its way to us? How many have paid way too much for a haircut that we ended up hating two weeks later? I know I can’t be alone!

It is because we all have that God-given desire to be pretty! Yes, you heard me right- it is God given, which means we shouldn’t be ashamed of it or think that we are vain or self -obsessed because of it. And it doesn’t just apply to outward beauty, but inward as well. They actually go hand in hand, or at least they should.

But here’s the thing: Somewhere along the way, life has had its way with us and given us the message that we are not good enough. Whether we think we are too old, too fat, too short, or whatever… somewhere along the way we were disconnected from seeking beauty. Remember as little girls when we would play dress-up and get into our Mom’s makeup and things? We were pretending to be a princess, fairy, or some make-believe movie star. As we matured and endured life, we lost that sense of playfulness and curiosity. Chapter 8 in “Captivating” states: “Beauty is what the world longs to experience from a woman. We know that. Somewhere down deep, we know it to be true. Most of our shame comes from this knowing and feeling that we have failed here. So listen to this: Beauty is an essence that dwells in every woman. It was given to her by God. It was given to you.”

How comforting to know that my inner desires and needs were formed by my maker.

I would like to say that I have found my answer and I’m now satisfied… but quite the contrary. My journey has only begun. Now that I know WHY I have this need and curiosity, I am learning HOW to satisfy it. I can tell you that this will most likely be an ongoing (but positive) journey for me. As you see, each one of us has her own path to follow. In the meantime, I will continue to share any (outward) beauty tips or recommendations that come my way. The inward work is up to you! If any of this article spoke to you in anyway, I strongly encourage you to read the book “Captivating” to learn more.

In closing, I recently participated in a glitter photo shoot. Many people asked me why I had it done. What was the occasion? Was it for a boyfriend? And my answer was simply this: I wanted to be beautiful. I wanted to be captivating. When I saw the pictures for the first time, my immediate thought was, “Is that ME?” What a shame that I was surprised that I looked pretty!

Ladies, we should not question our beauty. We all have it. We need to find it. We need to be that little girl again, and share it with the world! We need to go out and play in glitter and say “Yes that’s me! I’m pretty!”

God bless you all! I hope you find your curiosity and the little girl inside you as I did.

XXOO

Cheryl

Photo by Wild Artistry photography

My favorite 12!

A guy friend of mine came to visit a few weeks ago. He used my bathroom and came out looking perplexed. “I was just wondering how many of those products you actually use.” He was speaking of the plethora of beauty products that I had strewn across my bathroom counter. (Yeah I didn’t tidy up- don’t judge!). Anyways, it got me to thinking…if I had to narrow down my favorite products to those that I use every single day..how many would I be left with? It didn’t take long for me to assemble a small list of my tried and true favorites-some fairly new, and some that I’ve used over the past year. Obviously they all come highly recommended, and are in no particular order:

1. Too Faced Born this way foundation- I raved about this in a separate post, so no need to gush over this again- just know that it is amazing!

2. Hourglass Mineral Veil primer- the Holy Grail of primers! It leaves my skin with a smooth canvas.

3. Mac Lip Scrubtious in Sweet brown sugar- I honestly don’t know whether to use this as a lip exfoliator or just eat it. It smells that delicious! Oh, and it leaves my lips feeling super soft with a slight tint.

4. Davines Minu shampoo and Momo conditioner. Ahhhh, a new love of mine. The Minu shampoo was courtesy of Birchbox, and what a great find! It leaves my curly hair hydrated, shiny, and smelling oh so wonderful.

5. Too Faced Sweet Peach eyeshadow palette- yes, another Too Faced product! And I can tell you that I wear this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It is extremely versatile and the peachy colors make my blue/gray eyes POP!

6. Bumble and Bumble curl cream- I spoke of this product in a separate post as well. So all I will say is- if you have fine curly hair- GO GET YOU SOME!

7. Mac mineralize skin finish in Dark Tan- I use this as a bronzer/contour- one of those classic products that I will use over and over. The powder comes in a variety of shades that all provide a very smooth satiny-matte look.

8. Mac lipstick in Velvet Teddy- I am embarrassed to admit that this cult-favorite shade is new to me. Lately I’ve been wearing a lot of cream and gray colored clothes- and the nudey-peach tone of this lipstick just makes me look badass : )

9. Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara- I was absolutely shocked that this mascara did not make Allure’s “top 11 mascaras” list- especially because I have tried the majority of the 11 they listed, and I can tell you they’ve got nothing on my Lash Paradise. It washes off easily too which is a major plus in my book.

10. Nyx gel liner and smudger in Jet Black- this gel liner is 1/3 of the price of what I previously used- and I love a deep dark black line that lasts For-evah!

11. IGK Beach Club texture spray- I usually wear my hair curly, and this spray gives me some extra oomph to really fro it out. It also makes my hair smell really, really yummy.

12. Nyx HD finishing powder in Banana- yes I love a bargain- especially when it sets my foundation nicely and gives me a highlighted look that lasts all day.

So there you have it- my top 12 beauty products. I would love to hear about yours, so please drop a comment to this post!

Merry Christmas to you all- I hope you experience much peace, joy, and love this holiday season!

XXOO,

Cheryl

Spotlight Sunday: Foundation

I have become quite the persnickety customer when it comes to foundation over the past several years. I am no longer content with a product that just looks good and lasts long. These days I need a multitasker: something that looks good, lasts long, moisturizes, and provides anti-aging benefits. Am I asking too much? Absolutely not! Fortunately there are many makeup brands from high end to drug store quality that are upping their game to provide multiple benefits in one foundation. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have tried practically all of them. I have listed two below that are my current favs and thus highly recommend them.

1. Too Faced Born this Way- If you haven’t heard me rave about this makeup line, I am glad to do so once again! The last few collections that they have released are nothing short of gorgeous. My current favorite is their “Sweet Peach” collection. I guarantee I will write about this collection soon, but let’s get back to the foundation. It is advertised as a medium to full undetectable coverage. It is oil free and has coconut water to replenish moisture levels, Alpine Rose to brighten, and Hyaluronic acid for hydration and a smoother and more youthful appearance. It comes in 24 shades and costs 39 dollars. It provides a beautiful dewy appearance and lasts all day.

2. If you prefer a less expensive option, try Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Anti-aging Perfector. It provides SPF 20, moisturizer, and Retinol for anti-aging. It wears like a tinted moisturizer with sheer coverage. Cost ranges from 10 to 14 dollars depending on the store.

I always prime my face with moisturizer and primer before applying foundation. I use Hourglass Mineral Veil primer which is the absolute best that I have ever tried. I then apply my foundation with a damp beauty blender for a flawless, natural look.

Now is the perfect time of year to stock up on all of your beauty needs. Many brands have released makeup sets where you can get multiple products for half the price (or less) than buying them individually. Add to that the current discounts from several makeup retailers including 20 percent off your total purchase at Ulta, 20 dollars off a 50 dollar purchase for VIBs at Sephora, and 15 percent friends and family discount at Macy’s, and you have quite a bargain! Happy Shopping!

Makeup Monday: Lip obsessions!

I seem to be on a never-ending hunt for the perfect lipstick. And it’s no wonder: there’s not much else that can give you a quick pick-me-up like a fresh swipe of color on your lips. The options are limitless! While I have tried way too many brands to admit to, the following are three that are my tried and true formulas:

1. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid lipstick: If you are looking for a long wearing liquid lipstick that will not budge- your search ends here. This lipstick is so long wearing that I was unable to try on a second color at the store because I could not get the first color off my lips! It comes in 43 different shades of high pigment color. My only complaint is that it can be drying to my lips (good luck finding a long lasting lipstick that won’t) so I apply a thin layer of clear balm before applying. This may reduce the wear time a bit but trust me- your lips will thank you. My favorite color is Lovesick.

2. Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick: If you know anything about makeup, you know that UD is one of the front runners for most products. And for good reason: this liquid lipstick feels great on your lips and comes in 40 “long-lasting” shades in two finishes- comfort matte and metallized. You won’t get wear time as long as Kat Von D’s but the color range is gorgeous.

3. Mac Liptensity lipstick: Where do I begin? This product advertises 8 hours of wear, much less than both products discussed above, but the color range and look of the lipstick are Ah-mazing! I certainly don’t mind reapplying mid-day. It is advertised as a gelled base with a satin finish that provides extreme color intensity. I tend to gravitate toward pink and nude colors- and my current two favs are Smoked Almond and Ginger Rose.

You certainly can’t go wrong giving any of these lipsticks a try. I would love to hear about your favorites! Happy Shopping!

XXOO

Cheryl

(Smoked Almond by Mac featured in pic)