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The Blue Jumping Suit….Courtesy of Rent the Runway

Last week was my husbands work holiday party and since I LOVE any occasion that calls for fancy dress, or in this case…fancy pants, I decided to have some fun and really go for it head to toe. I am pretty pleased with how it all came together and I wanted to share it!

I rented this “Jumping Suit” , as it became known at my house,  from Rent the Runway. I also rented these Kate Spade ear pins but they didn’t come in time. But that actually worked out fine because I got these fabulous ear jackets from Nordstrom and the sales girl gave this awesome idea to keep them fresh by adding any pair of studs to them!

Thanks Heather-michellephotography.com !

Thanks Heather-michellephotography.com !

I ended up wearing these Kate Spade ear jackets with a fun pair of studs I already had. My neighbor loaned me her gold sparkly pocket book which works great with my fancy Jessica Simpson shoes that are way too high for regular wear but oh so great for a fancy party! Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 2.54.24 PM

Because we don’t get out on the town much (we work ALOT and have two small children), we really make the most of these nights out. We stopped at Richmond’s new boutique hotel, Quirk and had a fabulous cocktail before heading out to the holiday party at the Jefferson Hotel. How lucky was I to run into Heather of Heather Michelle Photography who kindly snapped a pic of us and emailed it me after.

Thanks Heather-michellephotography.com !

Thanks Heather-michellephotography.com !

This picture makes me feel SO fancy. Thank you Heather!

Getting out of the house is kind of a miracle when you are wrangling a 9 month old and a 2.5 year old. In order to make getting ready seamless and efficient, I totally did a “trial run” of my hair since I don’t usually wear it this way. I needed to know exactly how long it would take me to style it and if these headbands I  bought from Francesca’s were going to work and actually be comfortable enough to wear all night.

IMG_9877I did this quick trial a few days before and texted it to my girlfriends to get some approval. I wasn’t sure if this was too over the top, even for me. They gave me the thumbs up so I went all out for the event.

Here is a quick unedited selfie from my bathroom. I had to get one last vote of approval from a fellow fashionista before I hit the town. I am so in love with these Kate Spade ear jackets and super grateful that the sales girl gave me the idea to switch up the studs! I also bought the all white version of the ear pins that I attempted to rent and they are super fabulous!
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Hair and Makeup are my main gig and I do a little wardrobe for production too. But I doubt myself at times when it comes to my wardrobe selection. That is why I love having Joanna Avant, personal shopper, as a buddy. I love following her Instagram feed to see what cute stuff she is into. If you feel like you need some help in the shopping department or someone to do an audit of your closet, you should put her on your Christmas wish list! She has gift cards available, more about that here. 

I am launching Makeover Your Makeup Bag lessons in 2016 which will be a set of 3 appointments with me to clean out your cosmetics collection, do some shopping together and then show you how to use it. Joanna inspired me to make those available to you guys sooner than I had planned so you could put them on your Christmas list. Would you like that?

If you like this look and you are interested in seeing more details for how I put it all together, there will be a return of the YouTube tutorials on my channel next year. Let me know in the comments what you would like me to share in the tutorials. Feel free to ask for anything, hair/makeup/wardrobe related. Im down to do whatever.

Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter (just put in your email over on the right!) to get a weekly visit from me in your inbox with the latest blog posts.

I have been taking a break from the blog for awhile but I am back at it with fun stuff that you won’t want to miss. Like special deals ($50 off for 2016 brides who book in December), or when I giveaway my new favorite shampoo and condoner (there are still a few days to enter here!) or when I share how I make one of my DIY sugar scrubs, which make great holiday gifts! I will be sharing a few more of those coming up soon!

Happy Holiday!

xoxo

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Degrease and Moisturize..At the Same Time!

 

A HUGE thank you to the good folks at Maple Holistics for sending this fabulous shampoo and conditioner over for me to try out. And for hooking us up with a giveaway for a lucky winner to try, see the bottom for details!

Honestly I am almost never overwhelmingly WOW’d by shampoo/conditioner, but this one really blew me away.  Usually I feel like the scent or fragrance is usually the make or break factor in whether or not I want to purchase it again. As long as its fairly moisturizing and color safe, Im pretty ok with it. All major “issues” , i.e. frizz control, root lift or extra shine can be handled in the styling portion of the program.

But then came these guys….

mapleholisticsshampooandconditionerI had this product for a little while before I had the need to add any more shampoo/conditioner to my shower. One day I was headed to the gym with my kids and was planning to treat myself to a shower there while they were playing in the Kid Zone. Knowing that I need to pack some color safe shampoo/conditioner and not do an emergency wash with the head to toe, all in one body wash/shampoo, I threw this in my bag and hit the road.  I mean, I can pretty much bet that whatever is in that soap dispenser is NOT color safe. 

After a pretty intense workout and a few days since the last shampoo, I was ready to lather up! Usually when my hair is on the oilier side, I have to shampoo twice but I only had to use the Degrease shampoo once! It instantly got my hair and scalp clean and smelling fresh without feeling stripped or dried out.

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I wouldn’t call my scalp itchy but at times it is pretty darn oily and down right greasy. I love that the Degrease shampoo is a homeopathic, sulfate free formula that is super cleansing. It has a naturally antibacterial formula that stimulates circulation while still being incredibly hydrating.  It has a fresh, clean scent too!

As to be expected, I followed my shampoo with the conditioner. I am guessing that is what we all do!
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The Argan conditioner is fragrance free, silicone free and sulfate free. It includes argan oil, jojoba, aloe vera, shea butter, pomegranate, green tea, sea buckhorn and hibiscus packed full of vitamins and essential fatty acids. The botanical keratin helps maintain strong and healthy strands and prevent breakage. For best results, leave in for a few minutes.

What caught my attention and made me fall in love with this product was how soft and shiny my hair was after one quick shampoo in the gym shower. I didn’t use any product after but instead just rough dried it with the cheapie locker room hair dryer and my hands. Normally my hair is a bit frizzy and pretty much a hot mess if I don’t give it some love in the drying portion of styling.

I snapped this quick selfie to show you how smooth it was, even on a hot, sticky, humid day in Virginia! I had to include this sweet baby girl of mine because she has the best hair ever!

IMG_9761For a product made with these high quality ingredients, it is surprisingly affordable, less than $10!

But because you are awesome, we are giving someone a free shampoo and conditioner. Enter below. Available for the US only. Everyone can get a free product by requesting theirs here. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for sponsoring this giveaway!

In addition to the shampoo and conditioner, they also sent me the Vitamin C serum to try. Now that I am a certain age, I desperately need to be more diligent about my skin care. Products like this are best when used daily over a period of time since the benefits are cumulative. I haven’t been great at using this every day but I have been using it several times a week and I can see a visible improvement in the texture and clarity of my complexion.

xoxo

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DIY Harvest Spice Body Scrub

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! I mean what is not to love? There is the eating, the lounging, and be grateful for all the love in your life. Its basically the perfect holiday!

When I found these envelopes in my son’s cubby at preschool, I decided this would be a super fun way to show some of our friends how much we love them. It was super easy to do and we hope it made our friends feel special. Teaching little ones to share kindness thru the community is the best.

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The hardest part was picking 3 friends! It didn’t take long to remember three special friends that made me feel really loved and supported recently. If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw a few posts two weeks ago that I ran the Richmond half marathon with two of my girlfriends. This was an incredible experience and something I never would have done without the encouragement and support of these girls.

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Around 4th of July, Sarah had the brilliant idea that we should all do this and wouldn’t take no for an answer, even with my excuse of just having a baby in March. She convinced me that I could do it so I signed up and so did our friend Judy. What really helped was that Judy was the same pace as me (pretty slow) and had also never run more than 2 miles. When we were able to run 12 miles nonstop on our last training run, we were so shocked and proud of ourselves. I really cant believe I took on this challenge and completed it before Sloane turns 9 months!

FullSizeRender-7I don’t have a photo of her from the race but the 3rd recipient of the scrub was our neighborhood friend, Stephanie D., who is an experienced runner (she has run multiple marathons, including Boston!). Stephanie was supposed to run the race but had an injury that didn’t allow her to run. Instead of staying home and being sad, she bundled up and came out to support her dad and many friends who ran that day. She walked along the course and met up with us a different points to cheer us on. Around mile 10, I had gotten separated from Judy and was really struggling. Stephanie appeared out of nowhere, like an angel, and gave me the motivation (and some Starbursts) to join back up with Judy and finish strong. That really meant a lot to me.

In addition to girl power and reaching an awesome goal, I also love a good old sugar scrub. This time of year, as the temps drop, I start to notice my skin starting to get super dry. When we start showing less skin when summer is over and dressing in our fall outfits, I know I stop be as diligent with the moisturizer on my body. That combined with the dry air indoors can be a recipe for super scaly skin.

My mother is the queen of Pinterest, so when I needed some ideas for teacher gifts and holiday treats for friends, I had her send me some inspiration from her Pinterest collection. I decided to make a Coconut Oil and sugar scrub. Super easy!PicFrame

I got these 4oz Ball canning jars and the fragrance from Amazon. I started with 1 cup of coconut oil, I had some from Trader Joe’s in my cabinet already, and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Mix that together.

To get a bit more substance and to add some color and scent, I threw in 1/4 cup of brown sugar to the mix.

This makes an amazing scrub for your hands and body (not face!) that smells incredible and is super moisturizing.

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I added about a teaspoon or so of the Harvest Spice scent for fragrance.FullSizeRender-14Once it was all mixed together, we filled our jars. Then Silas added some stickers to decorate the jars. We LOVE stickers! Stickers on top of stickers on top of more stickers.

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The next morning we took our sugar scrub jars and added a nice thank you note to the envelopes and set out around the neighborhood to deliver our special treats. We had SO much fun.

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You are supposed to leave it as a surprise but Im pretty sure that our friends will know it was us (not just because of this post!) but because we are the only friends in the neighborhood who go to this preschool. I hope they were surprised to find their treat and our note letting them know we are grateful for their friendship.

Also in the envelope there was a card explaining that they had been hugged. FullSizeRender-13And a card to put on their front door to let people know that they had been visited with kindness. The last two years we have had something like this for Halloween where you got “Boo’d”. People would drop little Halloween treats at your door and you would put up a ghost on your door so people would know you had been hit, then you do it to three more people. 
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This guy was super excited to knock on doors. Thankfully, we were able to surprise 2 of the 3 friends, but only because they weren’t home. This guy isn’t really into the sneak attacks, he announces his every move.FullSizeRender-10

We left it on their doorstep and hoped they were as excited to receive it as we were to make it for them. Happy Thanksgiving friends! FullSizeRender-9I am going to make some of these scrubs for Christmas again this year and will report back on how we have updated the recipe! Here is another easy DIY Lip Scrub that you can make with 2 ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Which would you like to give or receive?

Enjoy! XOXO

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Available Wedding Dates for Spring/Summer 2016

Last week, I FINALLY posted some photos and behind the scenes from the amazing Wedding Collective Dream Wedding Giveaway we did at Big Spring Farm in Lexington, VA.  If you missed it, be sure to check it out here!

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

We had SO much fun!

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

Ha! I have no idea what was happening at this moment but Katelyn James always has the BEST behind the scenes shots in her galleries.

For more info on the Wedding Collective, Be sure to check out this site with all the info on the vendors who shared their talents to make this happen.

Don’t miss my post there with 3 tips for brides when planning their hair and makeup for a special occasion.

I got a little distracted by my crazy face in this picture, now lets get back to the announcement…

2016 Spring Wedding Dates!

March 12,  26, 

April   30

May 14

June 4

July 30

Fall and Winter 2016 dates will be posted by April or May. I will update this list as dates get taken.

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/alexandlaurawedding

Please contact me here if you are interested in any of these dates and see this page for information on pricing and booking information. I look forward to getting to know you, working with you and having a lot of fun on your big day.
xoxo

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The Makeup Show NYC- 10th Anniversary Edition

If you have been following the Makeup Show, either their blog or Instagram, you know that this year is pretty special. Its the 10th Anniversary!

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And I am going to be there! I didn’t think it was at all possible this year, since I am on maternity leave at the moment and staying home with my two little ones. But I took a chance, really put myself out there and now I have the opportunity to attend this special event. Im still pinching myself and may not believe that it is real until we get there.

Last year, I went to the Los Angeles show, there were so many blog posts about that adventure! Like this recap post. What a great trip! I’ve been to the New York show before but had to skip it last year because it was on the weekend of my son’s first birthday and I was not going to be away for that celebration!

When I saw they were calling for people to submit stories of how attending The Makeup Show impacted their career, it was last year’s journey to L.A. that inspired my submission. They were choosing the winning story to be the VIP guest at this year’s show in NYC and to be a part of the “special project” for the 10th anniversary celebration.  The winner also won a trip to NYC to attend the show and the Gala. How exciting!

On the day I had planned to write my story, 5 days before the deadline, I glanced back at the blog and noticed the deadline had been moved up….to that very day! I was so stressed but decided to pour my heart out, as quickly as possible, I didn’t have much time because my son was about to get up from nap and I wanted to get it in before it was too late.

The time crunch made me get real, I didn’t have time to over think it, I just wrote it and hit send. The next day, when I saw they extended the deadline for another week, I thought for sure that they read my story and thought it was so terrible they wanted to give people extra time to hopefully get something better.Oh well, I tried! And honestly, I was getting ready to have a new baby so I probably wouldn’t be able to go to the show anyway, so it was probably for the best that they didn’t pick me.

Imagine my surprise when I got the email saying they did pick my story…I was the WINNER!

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Thank you to my friend, Sarah Kane Photography, for snapping this nice photo of me just before Sloane was born.

I almost didn’t believe it but it got more real when they announced it here on their blog and on Instagram. Sometimes I still can’t believe it and stress that they will change their mind!

This was such exciting news! Since I was still pregnant and laser focused on planning my first home birth (more on that later!), I really struggled to process that I had won. Honestly, I am still not 100% sure what I won. I know that I am going to the show and the gala and that my story will be published in the 10th Anniversary book. Since I wrote this so quickly and on a high of pregnancy emotions, I can’t even bring myself to reread what I submitted, out of fear that it is totally embarrassing. It wasn’t what I originally planned to send in but I guess it stood out enough to make me the winner.

Baby girl arrived, 2.5 weeks earlier than expected. The home birth went beautifully and I am trying to process how I am going to tackle this NYC adventure with a newborn. Almost 6 weeks later, I am still on a high from experiencing an incredible water birth in my bedroom with the most amazing midwife, doula and my husband at my side. Talk about the dream team! When I get a little panicked about traveling alone with her so soon, I think of how powerful and strong I felt at her birth and I know I can do this (and pretty much anything else!).

Just before she was born, I got an awesome gift, The Soothe shirt from Lalabu.com, I discovered this gem on Instagram. It has been my uniform and I get so many comments/compliments when I wear it with her. I’ve posted on Instagram a few times. It was perfect to continue to take the weekly pregnancy pics and use the stickers up to 40 weeks she had decided to pop out a bit early.

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She will be 8 weeks old when we set out on this adventure. I would say she is probably the youngest girl at The Makeup Show this year! I will be bringing this shirt along for the trip and probably need to order another color since I wear it almost everyday! She will be nice and cozy so we will both be happy while I walk around and get my fill of education and inspiration at the show!

IMG_7647 She is still so tiny and I can’t bear to be away from her. I am nervous to take her but I know I am up for this challenge. I big part of the story that I submitted that won us this trip was that while I adore being a mother, one of the hardest parts (that I didn’t expect) was trying to figure out how to keep my identity and sense of self while trying to navigate parenthood.

Like most mamas, I want to be the best at this but I had spent the last 10+ years growing my career as a makeup artist/stylist and I’m not interested in walking away from that. The Makeup Show is a great place for motivation, inspiration and education. I look forward to what I will take away from this year’s experience there. Becoming a mama to my second child, this beautiful little girl and winning this experience with The Makeup Show has the wheels turning on how this new life phase I have entered will impact my brand as an artist.

For a long time I was trying to run my business and my life separately. It has become very clear to me in the last few years that my business and my family are both too important to me to keep separate. Stay tuned for changes as I give up the battle to keep them apart and experiment with merging these two identities.

More to come, the next few posts will include my wish lists for shopping at The Makeup Show and the classes and education I am planning to take. I will be talking about that here and on Money Making Makeup Artist. The last two times I was able to attend the blogger preview and social media events. I’m still crossing my fingers that I will get approved for one of the limited media passes. Then I will have even more behind the scenes excitement to report on. Would you like to see that?

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Wish me luck! Both on my NYC adventure and the evolution of the brand! I welcome encouragement in the comment section.

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