Beauty Favorites for Summer!

It may not be officially summer, but here in California it is in full swing! We’ve already had two 100 degree days and there’s probably more to come, so no matter where you live, if you are looking to stay looking great without much effort, I got you.

Though I am a makeup junkie, the hot weather makes me want to pare back on the amount of products I use for a fresher looking face. So far, these products have made it into my “Go To” drawer for summer! It’s a mix of budget friendly and higher end goodies.

  1. FAVE FOUNDATION: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Enhancer. 

neutrogena foundation

Though technically this is a tinted moisturizer, it does build to a medium coverage if you want that extra cover. It’s lightweight, not greasy, and the color stays true throughout the day. I especially like that it includes a SPF 20 to help with sun protection and Retinol for anti aging (great for my late 40s skin!). I have sensitive skin and have to be picky about my foundations, but this does the trick for a lightweight, dewy (but not oily) finish without breakouts! Budget friendly, ranging from $8-12, depending on the vendor. The only downside? It comes in 6 shades, and I feel there could be more deeper shades offered.

Here is a pic with me wearing it! My skin still shows through, but I’m still evened out. Note: I do use primer with this, so there’s less likelihood of it melting away.

ALSO – Neutrogena’s Clear Face Liquid Sunscreen in SPF 55 is a MUST for my Irish fair skin!

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2. MOISTURIZER – GLAM GLOW  Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer

Glam Glow Glowstarter

Nude Glow

I discovered this moisturizer from a sample in my Sephora PLAY subscription, and I LOVE it. Available in three shades (Nude Glow- above, Pearl Glow, and Sun Glow), this moisturizer not only hydrates my skin, but also adds a healthy warmth to my color without me looking “self tanned.” I use Nude Glow for that effect, plus I like it to give myself that Victoria’s Secret model “is she wearing makeup” look (and yeah, they do!).

A jar IS pricey – anywhere from $39-$49. You can also get the mini from Sephora for $15, or just ask for a sample to try!

I wore this with just a little concealer, mascara, and nude lip color when we were on a date!

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3. MASCARA – Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir and Loreal Voluminous Lash Paradise (tie)

Who doesn’t love a great mascara? Even if you are not a big makeup person, mascara opens the eyes and makes you look more awake. Depending on what you want from a mascara, there’s a ton of options (thicken, darken, lengthen..), but these two are the ones I’ve been using the most lately. Both are long wearing but easy to remove with a makeup wipe or cleanser, non irritating, and don’t dry out your lashes. Both have great wands to build your look and easily coat those hard-to-get-right lower lashes!

The big difference between the two is the price – Marc Jacobs retails from $20-$26, Loreal ranges from $9-$12. What makes Marc Jacobs worth the purchase is it gives you the “are those real?” lashes while still looking natural. Either way, you can’t go wrong with these.

marc jacobs

Lash Paradise

4. Finishing Spray – Urban Decay All Nighter and E.L.F. Makeup & Set Finishing Spray

A finishing spray is a MUST if you are planning to be out for several hours without access to a makeup touch up, or if you are in a warmer climate. Both of these sprays have worked very well for me; but if I had to pick just one it would be Urban Decay’s All Nighter. This sealed in my makeup without any weird fragrance or making my skin feel tight. No creasing of my foundation or eye shadow for HOURS.

Urban Decay

Downside? It is expensive for a full size bottle ($33), but it will last a long time. I usually stick with the small size ($15) because it’s easy for travel.

Don’t have the budget for that? No worries! I bought E.L.F.’s Makeup Mist & Set spray and it worked almost as well as Urban Decay’s spray. The main difference would be it does have an alcohol smell and you have to spray it lightly, or it could feel a bit sticky to the skin. Best part? It’s only $4-$6:)

ELF spray

And there you have it! These are the types of items I’m reaching for over and over again during this warmer weather. What are some Must Haves for your summer beauty regimen? 

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. Everything is my own opinion from my experiences!

Until next time –

Love, laughter, and lipstick,

Melanie.

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Phrases I Hate

“Act your age.” “Ladies don’t act like that.” Those two phrases were ones I dreaded hearing when I was growing up.  I never truly understood what they meant, but now I am older, the context of those words make me cringe and upset. Why?

Because we direct them at girls. We expect them to mature faster and be quieter, more “ladylike” in demeanor. Their enthusiastic energy gets toned down, their “tomboyish” attitudes and activities looked at as something weird, or a “phase.”

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There’s a famous saying, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” To me, it means not being quiet when people are hurting.  To not accept poor treatment. To rise above expectations. To DO YOUR OWN THING, regardless of age.  I am in my mid 40s and still like amusement parks. I listen to everything from Rihanna to Skrillex and jazz too. Wearing crazy leggings makes me happy, and yes- my hubby is 12 years my junior. Some people might think I haven’t “grown up,” but on the contrary, I’m growing in experiences. If we stop trying new things, taking risks, or sharing an opinion, then you have stopped experiencing life.

So, to my fellow “ladies” out there: Stop apologizing for your ideas. Don’t second guess yourself.  Trust your instincts. Say what you mean.  Be brave and DO YOU!

Until next time,

Love, laughter and shoes-

xoxo, Melanie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures Don’t Lie

BoM selfie

Hello Lovelies,

Oh, I am a bad blogger! I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted anything, but I HAVE been busy! First off, I went home to Michigan for a couple weeks to surprise my dad for his birthday – and was he surprised! Between myself, stepmom, best friend, and aunt, we pulled off an awesome surprise party! I’m so happy I was able to do that for him and spend time with people I love. It’s hard to be so far away.

One of the things that’s hardest to do when going on vacation or seeing your friends and family is sticking to a healthy routine. When I left for Michigan on June 14, I weighed 207 (17 lbs down from my heaviest in March). I watched portion sizes, how much sugar and fat I ate, and avoided simple carbs. I did some “power walks” in the mornings to get my cardio going. Coming back, I was 205. Now I am 202! That’s 21 lbs. gone.

Though I’ve seen progress on the scale, sometimes it’s difficult to truly see it in the mirror. However, going through some pictures gave me true perspective of what I’ve done. Here I am at the start of my journey in March (at 223 lbs):

When I began to take control of my health!

When I began to take control of my health!

March 2016 223

Here are my latest pics from the first week of July:

Dress, Just Fab. Belt, thrift store find.

Dress, Just Fab.
Belt, thrift store find.

Bag and sandals, Just Fab.

Bag and sandals, Just Fab.

Though I look and feel healthier, I am not going to put down the Melanie in the “before” pictures. That’s something I don’t like seeing people do who’ve lost weight (“Look at how fat I was!, What a slob!, How ugly! etc.). I don’t think it’s healthy for my soul to “name call” myself. Who I was then has brought me to now, so I am thankful for that.

I’ve also put in 500 lifetime miles on my FitBit! I had to celebrate my getting these cute black sandals from JustFab.com (unfortunately are now sold out!).

Blk JF sandals

Though I’m entering (what is horribly named) “middle age,” I find that the key to staying and feeling youthful is to surround myself with people who love to have fun and bring out the best in you. I am blessed to have several people in my life who do this, especially my best friend of 40 years, Debby. She may not be my blood sister, but she has been one to me in every sense of the word!

All dressed up to see the hilarious musical, THE BOOK OF MORMON.

All dressed up to see the hilarious musical, THE BOOK OF MORMON.

BFFs Forever!

BFFs Forever!

Question for you all: Is age “just a number?” Are there things you should stop doing at a “certain age?” Please comment:)

Until next time!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

 

 

 

SHOP LINKS: Black T shirt dress (up to 3X)

Bag (available in cognac only)

Change of Season = Change of Mind

Hello lovelies,

Believe it or not, fall is almost here (though in Guam, it just means a little less rain!). Like many of you, I enjoy checking out all the September issues of Vogue, Marie Claire, and Glamour. Seeing the runway shows on YouTube is as close as most of us will get to being at a show, and I’m glad for that technology!

But I want to share with you something I’ve been dealing with lately.

 

Dress, Kenzie.

Dress, Kenzie.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been feeling very sluggish and dealing with low energy. At first I chalked it up to an inconsistent sleep schedule, so even after going to bed/getting up at regular hours, I still felt draggy and lacking motivation.

Kenzie 1

Was I depressed? I didn’t think so. Though I’ve been missing friends and family, my job and my husband bring me joy. I had to look at something else.

I’m neglecting my body.

Shoes, Just Fab.

Shoes, Just Fab.

Don’t get me wrong. I am still very much about body acceptance. I believe in loving who you are, right at this moment. I still love who I am, and my curves. However, I cannot deny that my body needs more exercise, more greens. I don’t need to be a certain size to be happy. I just want more energy. I also don’t want to be diagnosed with diabetes, which is a reality for someone who is overweight.

So, I am taking this a step at a time. No crazy diet or intense workouts here.

Kenzie 3

But I’m still rocking my outfits, no matter what! I believe in living loud, so what’s louder than red?

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xoxo, Melanie.

What #BeautyIs…

Hello lovelies,

What is beauty? What do you consider to be beautiful? I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea lately, mostly because so many women and girls are subjected to a marketed ideal which for many, is unattainable. As a beauty and fashion blogger, I am committed to writing about and showing diverse versions of beauty. Maybe if more of us did, we can combat the  unrealistic, photoshopped messages and embrace who we really are!

Beauty Is…

  1. Trying something new.
The awesome Carmen.

The awesome Carmen.

My dear friend Carmen, who is already an accomplished actor, director, and ballroom dancer, decided she wanted a new challenge and a new way to get healthy. So, in her late 30s, she picked up a whole new sport! Fierce.

2. Creating Your Own Trend.

The unique and awesome Jakey!

The unique and awesome Jakey!

Jakey (another dear friend!) has always followed her own lead in fashion. She’s worked every hair color you can think of, can pull off just about any style, because she’s fearless!

3. Making Your Life Happen.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

My beautiful cousin, Jax.

Though she had a steady job and was doing well in her hometown’s college, Jax (real name: Jacqueline) wanted more. She took a risk, aimed high, and ended up becoming an Editor in Chief of a major college newspaper. She’s also about to graduate and launch a new career. Well done!

4. Not Settling for Less Than You Deserve.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

My BFF of several years, Debby.

Debby is practically my sister. We’ve been best friends since age 4, and we’ve seen one another through all kinds of ups and downs. A couple of years ago, she was in a miserable relationship which had practically stolen her bubbly lightness and joy. Though it was difficult, she summoned the courage to leave the man who brought her pain. By not setting for someone who did not appreciate the beautiful person she is, she now has a wonderful relationship! Don’t EVER settle. You don’t know what you are missing out on!

5. Celebrating Your Body, Your Spirit.

Bikini CU

 

Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

Bikini, Forever 21 Plus.

So many of us wait until we’ve got the “perfect body” before we’ll put on a bikini, wear a swimsuit, or even go to the beach. I haven’t worn a bikini in 15 years, and I’m tired of waiting. Let’s not let media decide how we should feel about ourselves. Be proud to be you!

6. Facing the World Through Challenges.

The lovely Beth!

The lovely Beth!

Recently I learned that Beth, one of my high school classmates, is facing cancer. Though her prognosis is good, she is still dealing with the harshness of chemo. I love that she put herself out on Facebook with a red lip and a sparkle in her eye! Get ’em, girl! You’ve got this.

Beauty is not what comes out of a bottle, a syringe, by an Instagram filter, or off a clothes rack. It’s truly how we see ourselves and how we treat the world around us. Let’s celebrate what truly #BeautyIs!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xo, Melanie.

 

Pale Girl in Paradise

Hello lovelies!

I’m a proud mix of Irish and Swedish decent, and though I am proud, it does make me, well, stand out in a tropical area.

Hafa Adai!

Hafa Adai!

After four years in mostly cloudy Germany, the Hubby and I didn’t get much sunlight. Now that we are in Guam, the sun’s rays blind everyone who sees us, lol! However, I just slather on the SPF 50 and let the freckles come.

At sunrise.

At sunrise.

A few nights ago, the Hubby took me on a date and I got to wear this fierce Torrid dress. What is so especially cool about it are the small dark blue spots with the leopard print. Looks great with my Charlotte Russe top!

Torrid 1

Paired with Forever 21 sandals and a Nine West bag.

Paired with Forever 21 sandals and a Nine West bag.

Feel like Marilyn!

Feel like Marilyn!

Just like my curves, I’ll work my pale self to the max. I’ll probably end up a light coffee color eventually, but I’m ok with who I am now. So, if any of you out there are pale like me, take solace in knowing that you’ll have great skin for many years. Take it from me, a 40 something with no wrinkles:)

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xoxo

Melanie.

 

Sports Illustrated’s First “Plus Size” Model

Sports Illustrated made history by announcing the inclusion of the first Plus Size model in its annual “Swimsuit Issue.”

I have mixed feelings about this.

First, I am glad to see a curvier model being showcased; however, this is the “plus size” model they are including in their editorial: size 12 beauty Robyn Lawley.

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I am not taking anything away from Ms. Lawley. She is gorgeous, healthy, and is an advocate of the curvier movement in fashion. I’m thrilled that she landed this opportunity!

What bothers me is Sports Illustrated labeling Lawley as “plus size.” announcing to the world, “hey, we’re open minded! We include plus size models!”

Let’s get real for a moment. YES, at a size 12, Robyn is considered “plus size” in the modeling world. However- she is 6’2″! A size 12 is NOT plus size for her proportions.

Can we try this instead, SI? Let’s truly show diversity in beauty.

Use size 16 Ashley Graham IN the editorial, not just an advertisement.

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Maybe next year.

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Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.