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Monday, March 31, 2014

Lashes, not Liner

Lashes are your beauty best friend.   They can do wonderful things for your whole look and especially your eyes.  This is one of the things I notice the most and I always point out to girls when I help them with their makeup.  Even if your lashes aren't super long, you want them to be your frame and standout feature (of your eyes).  Too often, I see lashes get lost because of eyeliner.  When your eyeliner is too bold for your lashes, it will make your eye seem smaller and a little more harsh.  You need to change your liner depending on your lashes.  If you have shorter lashes that tend to get hidden, use a lighter liner (brown instead of black) and/or do a much thinner (or more smudged) line.  Here is a picture where one of my eyes has more liner than lash and the other has more lashes:


Left eye has more liner, Right eye has more Lash 



Lashes add such a soft, feminine look which is why I love them!  They also make your eye look a lot bigger.  If you really want to get a smaller line with your liner, you can always line the water line of your top lid.  This will still give some pop without really looking lined.  I prefer to do a thinner line on the lid with a water line as well.  You also can smudge your liner with a makeup brush to help soften the line.

Have a wonderful day!

XOXO
Joy


Friday, March 28, 2014

Happy Friday Tip: Retailmenot.com

Have you guys heard of this site?? I just learned about it myself and I was so excited that I had to share! The best part about it is that you can save what coupons you want to print them out directly from the site later OR send them to your phone to use!

 If you need to purchase something, check this site first for coupons! Great deals at good stores (Nordstroms, Children's Place, Macy's, Walmart, Lord and Taylor, Starbucks, Ebay, Ulta etc.). I know I will be using this for sure!

 Also, I have mentioned nomorerack.com to several of you as I have used it a few times and loved it. I got a sweet deal on some fleece lined leggings as well as this toaster oven.  


 Happy Shopping!

 XOXO Joy

Monday, March 24, 2014

Filling In Eyebrows

Let me start this post by saying that I am a fairly recent convert of filling in my eyebrows so I was just as guilty as the next woman out there of not doing this!  BUT, now that I have converted, I notice them everywhere and it's hard not to see what a difference it truly makes.  I can't stop harping on this to my friends and get so excited when they see how much better their eyes look when their brows have had some attention.

I'm not sure why we think all we need to do to brows is to groom them....somewhere along the line, we got only half the information we needed for our eye makeup.  If you put makeup on your eyes, your brows should be included!  

This post is short and sweet today as I just wanted to show you some pictures to compare the difference so that hopefully you can agree with what I am saying.  =)

UN-FILLED Brows

FILLED Brows


Do you guys see how much more balanced out the eyes look and their appearance is bigger too (but not in a bugged-out way)?  In case you still don't believe me, click here to see some brow makeovers AND how to properly fill brows.  =)

If you haven't been filling your brows, you will probably feel self-conscious when you first begin and think that everyone is noticing your eyebrows.  I promise, they aren't!  Give it some time for you to get used to - walk around your house all day with them done and let yourself adjust to seeing them that way.  THEN you can make more of an accurate decision.  And thick brows are really in right now, btw.  =)

TIP:  If your eyebrows are super thin because of over-zealous plucking and some of the hair didn't grow back, you can use your eyelash serum on them (the special extensions stuff that I blogged about here) to help them grow back!  

Have a great day!

XOXO
Joy

Friday, March 21, 2014

End Tables & Swiss Coffee

Over the years, Peter and I have accumulated free furniture that is good quality but all oak colored.  I am not a huge fan of oak but it's been free (or really cheap) and I haven't really had a space or the motivation to change it.  =)  After house hunting and realizing that we were moving to a new space, I was inspired to finally paint my oak end tables.  For some reason, the thought of a new place made me want to upgrade my furniture but there was no need to buy new stuff so I decided to attempt to be resourceful.    I grew up watching my parents do this a lot.  They were so good at buying cheaper things, putting in a lot of "elbow grease" and making them look so nice and "like new".   I have never really had the desire to do that myself but I think this is partially because we lived in apartments or our previous townhouse that just didn't have the space to work on projects.  My sister, Julia, on the other hand, is the queen of re-finishing furniture (and all sorts of DIY projects) that make her house look amazing on a dime.  She also quilts and sews a myriad of things as well as home-schools her 5 kids.  She does it all, folks and I don't know how she does it.  She does blog it all and you should totally check it out because she will inspire you (and she's starting a business out of it so you can buy her special home-goods!).  Her adorable blog is called myrainbootsarered.blogspot.com.

I started with 2 of these end tables that were given to us.


I had originally thought I wanted to paint them black because we had a dark brown couch and a few other dark brown/black pieces.  I am the type of person where I don't know what I like until I see it so I began pinning pictures on pinterest of living rooms and furniture that I liked.  Then, I went back through my pictures and noticed a strong theme for cream/white pieces, some pewter and charcoal accents, darker floors and good paint on the walls.  I knew I had liked black and white before, I just had my colors switched.  =)  I decided to definitely paint these end tables white.  Because we were moving in just a couple weeks, I knew that I needed to get it done now or I would be too busy with unpacking/settling in a new place.  I called Julia who explained the step by step process and exactly what I needed to purchase to do this.  Honestly, you really don't need much!


I purchased:  One 2 inch angled brush (Purdy brand), a small roller (with a couple extra heads), some sand paper in medium (I already had that nifty black tool that holds it for you - highly recommended btw).  A small pan (big enough to fit the roller - make sure you test that), a quart of primer and a quart of Swiss Coffee paint (Benjamin Moore brand).  Julia told me about the swiss coffee color and how it was exactly the right color of white - not too stark but not too yellow/creamy.  


I got to work right away in my garage.  First I laid down our tarp (didn't want to purchase a drop cloth).  Then I sanded the end tables just like they were (didn't take them apart).  I was surprised at how easy it was to sand them.  You really only have to rough them up.  I wasn't going to sand them but Julia explained that they would chip a lot faster - especially with kiddos running around - so I decided to put in the extra effort.  "You want to do it right or you will feel like you ruined your furniture."  A wise quote given to me and I decided to follow it. =)  After I sanded them, I wiped them down with a damp cloth and rolled a coat of primer over them.  I much prefer rolling paint to using a paint brush so I rolled everything I possibly could.
TIP:  Line your pan with tinfoil so that you can keep re-using it and it makes for a lot faster, easier clean up.  




This is what they looked like with one coat of primer.  I let it dry for about 60 minutes (can do 30-60 minutes depending) and then rolled my first coat of Swiss Coffee over them.  It was surprisingly easy.  



They were looking so good already and I was pleased!  At that point, I called it a day as I had to get out the door to see a house.

The next morning I woke early and was so excited to finish these guys that I was out in my garage at 6:30 am painting the last coat on.  Because they had been so easy, I decided to do my dining chairs as well.  




I have 4 of these chairs and have not liked the color for a while now but originally thought I would purchase new ones as my table didn't come with these chairs and it needed 6 total chairs, not 4.  But after doing my end tables I was on a roll and figured I might as well try these too.  I grabbed 2 and quickly sanded and primed them before Simon got up (thankfully he slept in til 8:30).

Later that day a friend stopped by (shout out, Jamie!) and helped me to get the other 2 sanded and primed PLUS my hope chest (at that point I was out of control and no oak furniture was safe in my house).

I managed to get the first coat of paint on the chairs and hope chest that day.  The next morning I again woke and decided to get the last coat on before Simon got up.  Peter was home and helped out with Simon for bout half an hour while I finished them.




I was so happy to be getting that last coat on and knowing it was all done!  That garage was freezing at 7 in the morning and my back and knees ached from painting.  I remember soaking my throbbing back in the bath and thinking to myself "Man, I hurt so badly but I'm so happy I did it!"

I wanted to wait for "after" pics until we moved into our new place because I knew they would look so much better in there!  Our new house has such beautiful floors that just make the chairs and end tables pop.


This chair on the right is not one of the 4 but is another one that I have so I used it as a "before and after" comparison.  What a difference, huh??  So amazing!

 As I said, I needed 6 chairs for my table so I purchased two end chairs at Target on clearance.  Get a load of these babies!


I really wanted to get some fun, patterned ones but I knew that was just not smart with a toddler around so I went with charcoal grey and I really do love it with the rest of the look.

I'll give you the best "before" picture I have of the table and chairs....try to ignore the cuties I was photographing and notice the table and chairs:






Pretty fun, huh?  I am so digging my end chairs (even if they aren't patterned).  =)

The end tables turned out wonderful too and I like them so much better now.




I wish I had taken a before picture of my hope chest but I didn't think about it until it was too late.  It also was oak colored which I hadn't minded a ton but now that it's white and antiqued looking, it has transformed!



After the hope chest dried, I attempted the antique look by taking some sand paper to it and roughing it up.  I didn't like how it just looked "dinged up" so I found some gel stain in Walnut color and stained the wood parts so that it looked a lot darker - more "on purpose" rather than cheap.  ;)  This is a wonderful trick that I will for sure be doing again!



Just these few changes have totally transformed our furniture and how our space looks.  It truly amazes me at what a difference it has made.  I like my stuff now and am so much more appreciative of it because of the work that I know that I put into it.  If you have been wondering about painting something or aren't happy with it I would encourage you to go for it!  It is seriously so rewarding and worth it (plus it's not as hard as it sounds and it's not expensive!).  Trust me, if I can do it then you certainly can!

If you have questions, feel free to check out Julia's blog and send her your questions!  She is a great resource and has tried just about everything out there.  =)

Good luck and happy re-finishing!


XOXO
Joy 


Friday, March 14, 2014

When Natural Curl Falls Flat

When I hit my teenage years my hair began to have some natural curl to it.  It's kind of an annoying curl because it's not enough to let it air dry and have beautiful curl but it is enough to make it look kind of frizzy and unkempt.  When I dry it curly, I use my wonderful diffuser but sometimes my hair still has flat parts.  This is probably partly because of my hair being colored and I'm guessing pregnancy affected it.

Thus, enter my "natural curl" helper:  The 3 barrel curling iron.


I have had this baby since I was in highschool and it still works like a charm.  It is super fun and really helps to add curl to your flat parts.  I have also played around with it and "curled" my extensions so that I could wear them when I dried my hair with it's natural curl.  Using this curling iron on totally straight hair and curling your whole head is probably the most time consuming thing I have done but it is a lot of fun to try once and produces gorgeous curls.  =)  In highschool I did it a few times.  

Normally, I love to use this iron to just go over my "flat" pieces really quick and to make sure my bangs match the rest of my head.  It also is a life saver for the day after when my hair has naturally fallen flat due to sleeping on it.





)


Here is a pic to show you the difference - half of my head is done and the other half is not:


END RESULT:

Have a great day!

XOXO
Joy

Monday, March 10, 2014

Springtime Color

Turquoise is one of my favorite colors to wear because it goes with any hair color, pretty much any skin color and adds such a pop!


I decided to wear this with jeans and sandals today because it's not warm enough for anything else! This dress is a little short to be worn alone (unless you were using it as a swim suit cover up) so I'll probably still pair it with leggings in the summer and turn them into capris.  I kept the jewelry more subtle with this look as I wanted it to be more casual but a fun necklace would dress it up nicely.


Tunic Dress:  Target
Jeans:  Maurices
Sunglasses:  Target

 This dress will look even better with a tan, I just don't have one right now.  ;)  Can't wait for summer!

Tunic Dress:  Target
Leggings:  Maurices
Boots:  Maurices




Friday, March 7, 2014

Homemade Sweet Potatoe Fries with Aioli Sauce

I had a hankering for garlic, parmesan fries with aioli sauce the other day...so much so that I decided to make them myself!  My cupboard only had sweet potatoes so I decided to make those instead and still go with the aioli sauce.  WOW.  I was in for a treat!  =)


These fries were exactly what I wanted and turned out so well that I will be using this recipe a lot!

I didn't have everything for the recipe that I found so I used what I had and improvised a little...



The fries with the sauce did not disappoint!  

Okay, so to begin, start with your fries.  These homemade fries are so easy that I make them all the time.  You just need sweet potatoes (or yams), coconut oil, garlic powder and salt.


Slice up your sweet potatoes (I keep the skin on and just scrub them well) into thin strips and place on a cookie sheet.  Take a spoonful of coconut oil and and rub it into the strips with your fingers.



After you rub it in (doesn't have to be perfect), sprinkle salt and garlic powder all over them.  I use either Jane's Crazy Salt OR pink Himalayan sea salt.



Bake them at 450 for around 7 minutes and then flip them. I'm guessing 7 minutes - just flip them when they look semi-cooked.  Let them cook an additional 7 ish minutes until they look somewhat crispy.  I added a touch of parmesan right at the end (so that it didn't burn).



Now, on to your Aioli Sauce.  This stuff was so easy!  Let me add a disclaimer first:  I was out of eggs so could not make it that way.  Instead, I dug out what was left in a mayonnaise jar that I found at the back of my fridge and went with that.  Next time, I plan on making it with eggs and olive oil instead.  



This is all that you need for an Aioli Sauce made with mayonnaise.  It is so simple.  Crush the garlic into a bowl and mix with the mayonnaise.  (3 cloves to 3/4 cup).  Next add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and some salt and pepper to taste.  Let chill for 30 minutes before eating.   




I got a little too much lemon juice in mine so I would advise to go lighter on it and add more as you want it....

Don't be surprised if you eat the whole plateful yourself like I did!



Simon of course ate them with me and he loves them!







Sweet Potatoe Fries:
1-2 large sweet potatoes (or yams)
Garlic powder
Salt
Parmesan Cheese
Coconut Oil

Slice up sweet potatoes into fries, spread in a shallow cookie sheet (only do about half a potatoe at a time).  Rub with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder.  Bake at 450 for around 7 minutes.  Turn and bake for another 7 minutes.  (Or until crispy - guessing on the time here!)  Sprinkle with parmesan and cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a plate covered with a paper towel.

Garlic Aioli Sauce:
3 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1-2 T lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in either a blender or food processor.  Let chill for 30 minutes before eating.


Enjoy!



Until the next recipe,

XOXO
Joy






Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Beauty Tip: Tomas Tan in a Can

Hi ladies!
  Here is another beauty tip of mine that I do all the time!  It is so quick and makes such a difference with my makeup.  I did reference this in the smoky eye tutorial so here it is:


I had this stuff for a little while before I finally found the secret to using it for my face.  I love having a touch of color on my face because it just makes my makeup look so good.  I'm not talking a full on tan here, just enough to reduce redness, even skin-tone and give you a subtle glow.

Here's the secret though: put this on your face OVER your lotion but UNDER your makeup.  It works like a charm.  I did a tutorial to show you all how I apply it - takes me like 3-4 minutes of my time (little longer on the video).




And if you are interested, you can buy it here:


Toma's Tan Self Tanning Airbrush Spray




XOXO
Joy


Monday, March 3, 2014

Moving! A story of God's Hidden Grace



Last summer we decided to move from our 2 bedroom townhouse to (what I lovingly refer to as) our first "grown up" house. We had a baby who was on the move, no yard, a horrible parking situation and needed more space. Peter had been using the baby's room as his office and it just wasn't working.
We found an amazing rental house that we instantly fell in love with. The location was exactly what Peter needed for work, it had a basement with an office for him plus additional bedrooms/space, an amazing kitchen and 1/3 of an acre for a yard (with a fire pit, fruit trees, flowers, huge weeping willows, roses, and rhubarb to boot). We were over the moon. We moved in on Labor Day weekend 2013 and settled extremely quickly thanks to the help of our generous friends and because of having so much space! My parents came for a visit a couple weeks after the move and worked tirelessly to make our new place a "home". My Dad hung everything on the walls, re-finished our dining room table, got our book shelves up and helped set up our new breakfast nook. My Mom helped me with picking colors, decorations, spray painting mirrors and being my interior decorator. Within only a few weeks of moving in, we had officially claimed this place and made it ours. Without conscious thought, we both settled in for the long haul - thinking we could be happy here for years.

Moving In

Mum-Mum and Simon



At the end of January 2014 we got a phone call from our property management company.  They informed us that the owner was moving back into the house and that we had to be out no later than March 22nd.  As compensation they offered us March free and our security deposit back.  We were stunned.  When Peter told me, I didn't believe him.  I was so shocked and in disbelief.  We knew this couldn't be right because we had a year lease and they couldn't just break it like that so we planned on holding our ground.  We looked at our lease and closely read the 25 page item looking for their supposed loophole.  We found it.  There, in section 8, 1.A, they had clearly defined that the owner could break our lease for reasons including moving back in.  We were devastated.  I began to actually wrap my head around the thought that we were in fact, moving again and being forced to leave our beautiful home that we loved.  After the initial denial stage came anger.  I was angry that this happened and that they could do this to us.  I was frustrated with the thought of moving again and that I didn't want any other home but this one.  It didn't seem right.  It wasn't fair.  As the reality of the situation sank in more, sadness came and I saw my house through new eyes - every little thing that I had loved but didn't think about until I knew it would be gone, I saw again.  I cried as I noticed special things that we really hadn't even had a chance to enjoy yet:  like my front porch swing that I couldn't wait to use this summer, or our wonderful backyard with those huge trees, the beautiful deck furniture that my parents purchased for us as a gift etc.  I thought of all the work my parents did and how the house had all their little "touches" everywhere that I would miss dearly.  For the next few days, our beautiful house brought tears as I mourned the loss of it.

House Warming Party

Enjoying his new room

Admiring the view

In my quiet times, The Lord gave me verses like:

"Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for The Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared."  Proverbs 3:25-26

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him."  1John 2:15

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"  Hebrews 13:5

"May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."  Psalm 20:4

"The earth is The Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."  Ps 24:1

"No one who's hope is in you will ever be put to shame....all the ways of The Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant."  Ps. 25

"I am still confident of this:  I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living.  Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for The Lord."  Ps. 27:13-14


All of these were such good reminders to me of where my treasure really is, that Jesus is over all of this and that He has good for my family.  I know that Jesus is in control and that if He allowed this situation, then He knows best.  I had to tell him, "Lord, I know that if you say this is best then it is and I trust you with that."  I know that I can't measure His best by my standard of best but that someday, I will know.  This past month has been such a time of daily going to The Lord, leaning on his promises and trying to follow Him in all of this.  It has been good.




And so began our house hunt.  


(To Be Continued)